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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.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Mark Lindsay/Paul Revere & the Raiders

In 1998, Rhino Records released Nuggets, a superb 4-CD retrospective of American garage rock from the 1960s.  The boxed set took its name, appearance, and cantankerous ethos from Lenny Kaye's original Nuggets double-album set from the early '70s (which was itself included as Disc One of the boxed set).  To commemorate all this, I was working on a massive history of the genre for Goldmine, but Syracuse's Labor Day storm in '98 put me off schedule and forced the project to be delayed.  As Goldmine itself changed, it soon became clear that the project was without a home, so it remained unfinished.  This 1998 interview with Mark Lindsay, former lead singer of Paul Revere & the Raiders, was conducted for that article. It has remained unpublished until now.  (And it's posted today in honor of the 350th episode of The Wax Museum with Ronnie Dark, Sunday nights 7 to 10 pm Eastern on WVOA in Syracuse, http://www.wvoaradio.com/listenonline.html).  Congratulations, and Happy Milestone, boys!)

Rhino's Nuggets boxed set includes two great Paul Revere & the Raiders singles from 1965, "Steppin' Out" and "Just Like Me."  But in some ways it seems unfair to lump the Raiders in with the Nuggets discussion, since the group was already rockin' the Northwest prior to the British Invasion, and continued well past the mid-'60s.  How do you think the Raiders fit in with Nuggets?

Well, it's true.  I was thinking about this yesterday.  Most of the groups included in the Nuggets really probably had one or two or three hits.  But still, I'm not sure it's unfair.  I'm actually kind of complimented that the Raiders are in there, because it's a great mix of unique tunes.  So I'll take it the other way.  At that time, the Raiders did go through a few phases, and the music did change.  But I think at the time that "Just Like Me" and "Steppin' Out" came out, it fit more in the category of what this package is all about.

The Raiders seemed to be one of the first--maybe the first--to actively try to be the American Stones, as opposed to an American Beatles.

Well, we were always, we weren't that slick.  We were always more of an irreverent garage band.  And we had a big R & B influence, which I suppose the Stones did also.  We both probably had listened to the same material, and we just--I mean, I loved the Beatles, but I love rock 'n' roll, you know? 

Going back a bit, how did you first start working with Paul Revere?

Actually, I was living in a small town called Caldwell, Idaho, and working in a bakery (laughs), which actually made buns for hamburger stands.  And I heard [Paul] rehearsing.  He got this idea that if he was in a band, that kids would come to his drive-in [restaurant].  So he kind of auditioned for a group called The Red Hughes Band, and the first night he played I wandered in and asked to sing a song.  And the next day he came to the bakery to talk about this wild kid that came in and sang, and said he wasn't too bad.  And I whipped off my glasses and my baker's hat and said, "That was me!"  So that's how we actually met.  He said, "Well, come by and rehearse any time."  And we did, and pretty soon the head group--Red got kind of ticked off that I was singing, so basically the band quit and we all started (laughs).  Then they hired me. 

How was the band billed?

At first, after it ceased being The Red Hughes Band, where I used to sit in a lot, it just had no name at all.  And I was over, when I bought a sax--I decided, I remembered my uncle had a sax back at his house, so I went and picked it up and tried to make some noise, figuring I could become a sax player.  So I bought a sax, and I was over at the guy that taught band in high school, and he was a big jazz aficionado and he had copies of Downbeat magazine on his coffee table.  And I remember lookin' down and saying, "'Downbeat'--now that's a cool name."  Came back to Paul and said, "Why don't we call ourselves The Downbeats?"  So that's how we were billed at that time.  Until we signed our first record contract, and we became Paul Revere and the Raiders.

Regional success seemed to come fairly quickly.

Well, let's see....  We started actually probably in '59, and played around.  We cut our first demos probably within, say, a year of being together.  And we thought we had a contract with Mercury Records, and we all piled in our vehicles and headed to California.  It turned out that it was not true, so we scrambled around and found Gardena Records, which was one of the places that Revere had taken the demo.  And it was basically a pressing plant, and he had the label as a tax write-off (laughs).  So we got our first deal, but it actually took off.

"Like, Long Hair" actually made the Top 40.

Yeah, that's true, I think 38.  "Beatnik Sticks" and "Orbit" was the first thing.  I'm not sure--it charted, but it wasn't Top 40.

Revere was drafted in ' 61 or so.  What did you do while he was serving? 

Yeah, he actually was 1-O  [conscientious objector], so he had to work two years for the government.  He was a cook's helper at the Gammage State Hospital up in Oregon.  And I went to California, to kind of keep the music going.  And after about a year and a half we hooked up again in Oregon, when he was about ready to get out and finish his stint, and reform the group in the Portland area.  And started playing a lot of frat houses and parties and things like that.  And I had learned a little bit, I had seen a lot of music in L.A., and realized that you needed  more than just another band.  So I took it upon myself to become very unpredictable (laughs).  And we built our reputation that way.

How did Roger Hart enter the picture?

Revere and I walked into a bank one day to get some checks, and we probably didn't look like accountants with our black Beatle boots and long hair--well, what were soon to be called Beatle boots.  And Roger's wife was working there, and said, "Oh, you guys must be musicians.  My husband's in the music business." "Oh really?  What's he do?"  "He's a disc jockey."  So we got his number and called him up, he kind of came over, and saw the band and offered to be our manager.  Because we didn't have one, we took him up on it.

Mike Smith joined the band somewhere in this time frame?

Yes.  Smitty, when we re-formed the band in Portland, we went down to a club called the Headless Horseman.  And I went in, because I was under [the age limit].  I think the cut-off age was 20 or 21 or something, and Revere was older.  So I went in there and was checking out this guitar player.  And Smitty was playing guitar, but he was substituting for the guy that was supposed to be there.  So we came out and talked, and he went out and rehearsed.  And I said, "Do you play anything besides guitar?"  And he said, "Well, I play a little bit of drums."  So he brought his drums down.  And it was very evident after the first rehearsal that he was gonna be the drummer, not the guitar player (laughs).  And then we found the guitar player that we were originally looking for, a kid named Steve West.  And then we had a bass player named Ross Allemang for a very short period of time, and then Dick Walker.  Dick Walker was actually the bass player on "Louie, Louie."  The band that did "Louie, Louie" would be Dick Walker on bass, Paul on, of course,  piano, me on sax and vocals, Smitty on drums, and Steve West on guitar.

Your "Louie, Louie" predates The Kingsmen's version?

The way I remember it, and I know if you ask Revere you're gonna get a different answer, he'll swear that we cut it first.  But I think--I remember being in the control room when we cut "Night Train" for the flip side, and "Louie, Louie," and the engineer, Bob Lindahl, was running the copies off and said, "If I were you guys, I'd get this out right away."  And I said, "Why?"  And he said, "Well, The Kingsmen were in here like two or three days ago and cut a demo of the same song, 'Louie, Louie.'"  And I'm sure that we thought was a demo was the master, because I don't think they ever re-cut it.  So that was within like two or three days ahead of us, but in the same studio in the same town (laughs).  It was quite a coincidence.

Thus is rock 'n' roll history born!  Around this time, the Raiders adopted the Revolutionary War costumes for the first time.

Yeah.  We were kind of looking for an identity.  And at that time we had collarless La Jolla blazers, like those collarless suits we'd seen The Beatles wear and things.  And Revere [and I] were walking up Broadway in Portland, Oregon, we were going to play Lake Oswego Armory that weekend, and we happened to pass a costume shop.  And they had period costumes on the mannequins, and Revolutionary War garb.  And we stopped, and I said, "Look.  See, that's the way they used to dress in Paul Revere's day."  And suddenly the lightbulb went on above our heads, and I said, "Wouldn't it be cool if we rented those just for a joke, for the weekend?  Do the first half in our regular outfits, then come out dressed like that?"  I mean, it was just for a joke.  And Revere thought it was a great idea.  It was kind of a mutual idea.  And he went in, and talked the guy into renting us the costumes.  We did the first half of the show that weekend in our regular outfits.  And then at intermission [we] went back and put these costumes on, and came out, and the whole tenor of the band changed.  It was like playing with the Marx Brothers.  I personally felt that I was in costume, so no one would know it was me.  So I could do anything.  And that kind of spread to the whole band.  And the people just stood around open-mouthed, because we suddenly were a lot more active than we usually were.  And after the show, we thought, "Well, this is a pretty cool idea."  And we went to Hawaii for a little stint, and came back, and the first thing a kid says is, "Where are the outfits?"  So we realized that we had something that was working there, and we had 'em made and that was our trademark.

When did Drake Levin and Phil Volk join the band?

We probably were in Portland probably about six months.  And we then moved back to Idaho, and that's when Dick Walker joined the group.  Steve West dropped out--we were moving and living in Idaho and he was still like 16 years old or something, and he didn't really like being away from home that much.   So he left.  And Dick Walker had a foster brother who he'd been raised with who was a guitar player, Charlie Coe.  And they had played in a lot of groups together, so Charlie just naturally stepped in.  And that lasted for probably another, oh, six months or a year.  And Charlie and Dick left about the same time, and Drake and Doc Holliday came in.  Doc was there for about a year, and then he left and Phil Volk came in.  And it was kind of coincidental, because Phil, Drake and Holliday were all playing as a trio in Revere's club, the Crazy Horse, in Boise.  And so they all three eventually joined the band.

How did the British Invasion affect the rock 'n' roll scene in America?

Well, we were already a working band, and kind of had already had a little success with the record, and certainly a lot of regional success in the Northwest.  So when that happened, I think it kind of sparked the interest in music generally, because we were kind of comin' out of the Brothers Four era.  And the fact that all of a sudden all of this great rock 'n' roll was comin' across the pond kind of sparked everybody's interest, and probably helped us get our first record deal at CBS.  And Derek Taylor, who was The Beatles' first press agent, came over here shortly thereafter.  And we were one of his first clients, and he, I think it was his idea that we were America's answer to the British Invasion, because of  the Paul Revere angle and stuff. 

Producer Terry Melcher could almost be described as the Sixth Raider.

Oh, absoluletly!  Absolutely.  The harmonies, well, for example, on "Him Or Me," a song that we wrote, he' the other voice and counterpoint.  And he and I did a lot of the backgrounds--he's in all the backgrounds.  I mean, not that the other guys weren't on the backgrounds too, but his voice certainly was distinctive and part of the mix. And one of the reasons  "Just Like Me" sounds as good as it does is because he was really savvy in the studio.  And we just poured our energy in, and he knew a few tricks, and it all came out great. 

How did recording your first album, Here They Are!, differ from recording the Gardena singles?

Well, the Gardena singles were just basically culled from our first demos.  We cut 'em at I.M.N. Productions in Boise.  We then cut an album for Roger on Sande Records.  It was basically our repertoire, "Mojo Workout," "Work With Me Annie," just basically things we were playin'.  I don't think there were any originals on it.   We cut that album in a very small place up in Boise.  And of course we worked up at Northwest Recorders, and we worked at I.M.N.  But Columbia was this huge facility, with all the best of everything.  And everybody was a little stiff, because it was more geared toward Percy Faith and Doris Day and et cetera.  But Terry was there, as the only young producer in the building.  Terry and I were the same age, basically, and hit it off.  The first time I met him, I remember I walked in the door and he was in the studio, Studio A, and they were running back, I think, "Hey Little Cobra."  And Bruce Johnston was standing out in the studio with a waste basket on his head, singing (deep voice) "Shut 'em dowwwn."  To try to get the resonance, I guess.  So that was the first meeting.  I'd never heard music played at that volume, and here was this hit pourin' out.  It was just kind of magical to me.

How did you connect with Dick Clark for Where The Action Is?

Well, we were in the area, and we did cut our first Columbia record, so we were living down in Hollywood for a while, in the motel.  And we got booked on the first Rolling Stones show.  We were one of many acts that opened for the Stones, including Caesar and Cleo, who later went on to become Sonny and Cher.  But we did our thing, and one of Dick Clark's secretaries...Roger Hart was there, and he'd convinced one of Dick Clark's employees to come down and watch the band.  And she went back and reported that we were this very visual band.  And Dick was putting together a pilot for Where The Action Is!  And he needed somebody that was visual and that they could make tracks for the principles on the show.  So we kinda fit the bill.  The pilot didn't take off--it was made for CBS--but ABC eventually bought the concept.  And we signed for a 13-week period.  Dick's idea was that we were kind of unknowns, and we would kind of fill in until the show took off, if it did, and then he'd be able to afford a name band.  And, of course, it was kind of a precursor to MTV, the whole country saw us and we became the name band. 

What kind of effect did the TV exposure have?

Well, it was basically...Our formula up to that point in time was wherever we performed live, we would then become popular.  I mean, the first time we'd show up in a new town, we'd maybe have half a house, just out of curiosity.  And when we returned, we'd have standing room only.  And I guess that formula kind of worked--the whole country got to see us at once, and got exposed to us, and liked what they saw, luckily.  So that really kicked us off nationally.  I mean, it was as important, I would say, to us in our national popularity, as MTV is to any new artist today. 

Between touring, recording, and doing the TV show, that must have been quite a busy schedule.

Uh, yep.  Well, I didn't really have a life except for the band.  And I loved it.  I mean, I could live in the studio 24 hours a day.  So when we went on the road, and we weren't taping [the TV show], I was in the studio.  And, of course, Terry and I were sharing a house, so we were always writing songs.  So really, that was a way of life.  It was busy, but I didn't mind it.  I liked the music so much.  I liked touring, and I liked everything about it, all the things that you're supposed to hate.

It seems to be a very noticeable shift in style from the early singles, and even from Here They Come!, to your second album, Just Like Us!

Yeah.  Well, Here They Come!, of course, half the album,  Bruce Johnston produced the live half.  And basically we just went out on the street and got a bunch of kids in, about 200 people that came by, and said [to them], "You wanna see a live recording?"  And we set up and did our show, and that was the first half of the album.  The second half we recorded without the people there, more in a traditional studio setting, still mostly cover tunes.  But then Terry and I started writing, and started sharing a house, so I was around a lot more.  And we just started working together.  And he began to, I think, kind of see a vision for the Raiders.  So the material got a little better, and the sound became certainly a lot better.

Paul Revere is on record saying that he prefers the original Raiders sound to what it evolved into.

Well, see, he would, because he was the piano player (laughs).  He liked piano, his forte was boogie-woogie piano, obviously.  And when we switched over to the Vox organ or the Farfisa organ, which was the sound, he went along with it but he really didn't enjoy it that much.

The Raiders tracks that are on the Nuggets box are the two "new" (i.e., non-covers) tracks on Just Like Us!, "Steppin' Out" and "Just Like Me."  

Yeah, that would have probably been our earliest recordings that kind of had that Raiders sound that Terry was helping us make. 

You and Paul wrote "Steppin' Out."

Yeah.  I mainly wrote the stuff; the early stuff we worked on kind of together, but after that I kind of did it and...well, let's say we wrote it together.

"Just Like Me:"  Wilson Pickett meets The Kinks!

That's pretty good.  It was one of those three-chord songs, and when Roger played it for us--a guy named Rick Dey wrote, and Roger found it and brought it down and played it--and it was just one of those songs.  So we cut it.  You know, it's three chords, and it's a lot of just...I don't wanna say teen-age angst, but kind of.  It was one of those tunes.

And Drake Levin came up with the "Midnight Hour" cop for the intro?

Yeah.  And it's funny, because I used to play sax on a lot of stuff in the studio, but until we got the CD, I had forgotten there was a bari sax on the intro.  But if you listen you can pick that up. 

Just Like Us! is dominated by covers.  That seems odd now, but was common practice then.

Well, we hadn't really started writing that much yet.  Plus, these were songs that we did on our show, and I think Terry just went in and said, "What do ya got?"  And we said, "Well, we got this"  I don't really think at that time Terry...he was producing us because we were the first rock 'n' roll group there [at Columbia].  But I don't think he really saw too much of the future as it turned out to be, and, quite frankly, I don't think anyone else did either.  So we just cut what we could do.  And, of course, we performed the tunes on Where The Action Is!  But after the success of that, and we started becoming more popular after "Just Like Me," Terry and I started writing a lot more things and he took it a lot more seriously.  And I think everybody did. 

It wasn't really cool to do cover tunes, and here we're doin' "Satisfaction."  Listening to it now, it doesn't sound so bad.  But then, it was kind of, I don't want to say embarrassing, but it was like, "We shouldn't be doing this."

"Baby Please Don't Go" sounds good, and so does "I'm Cryin'."

There's an example.  I've heard several versions of that [Baby Please Don't Go], and it always sounds good.  It's just a great song.

I've always imagined The Byrds trying their hand at Donovan's "Catch The Wind," and your version is the closest thing to that.

Terry had just started with The Byrds then.  As a matter of fact, somewhere in my mind, I know that the 12-string that Drake used was a Rickie like Roger [McGuinn]'s at the time--or Jim's at the time, I guess.  And it almost seems like he borrowed it, but that's probably just an urban myth that I've manufactured myself. 

You recorded and released "I'm Not Your Stepping Stone" before The Monkees.  Was that planned as a single?

Yes it was.  We were approached by Tommy and Bobby, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart.  They came over and said, "Hey, we've got a great song we wrote for you guys."  So they played it for Terry and I, and everybody loved it.  We went in and cut it, and it was scheduled for the next release.  And I remember...Terry and I, every night when we finished up at the studio, we lived in Benedict Canyon, so we'd drive past the Whiskey and usually stopped in, see what was happening, who was playing, whatever.  So we stopped in one night and Bobby and Tommy were there, and they said, "Well, when is the single coming out?"  And Terry said, "We're gonna put it out next week."  And the next day, we got a demo in the mail of "Kicks" from Barry [Mann] and Cynthia [Weil], and just really liked the record, really liked the song.  So we cut it, and it came out so good Terry decided to release "Kicks" first.  So he did, and Bobby and Tommy call us up and say, "What's this?"  So we say, "Well, don't worry, it's gonna be the next single"  And they went, "Yeah!"  They took our version, which we had cut, took it over to The Monkees.  That's why their version sounds so much like ours.

Tell us about "Kicks," your first Top 10 single, and the first anti-drug song, as well.

The funny part about that is, I guess I was pretty naive, but when we cut the song, I just thought it was about, you know, "it's harder to have a good times these days than it used to be."  And I didn't really know it was about drugs after we had cut it and later.  I'm sure if I'd known the story it wouldn't have kept us from cutting it.  It was basically a warning to...I donít know if you've heard this story or not.  But there were two main songwriting teams at that time, Barry and Cynthia and another one.  And it was written for the male half of the other writing team, who was getting a little too far out there apparently.

Was Midnight Ride the last album recorded by the Raiders themselves as the studio band?

Uhhh--no.  Spirit Of '67, it's kind of a [mix].  Spirit Of '67, "Hungry," I know they played on, and "Good Thing," and I'm not sure about the rest of them.  We started supplementing the band with studio musicians, and Terry liked to do that.  But Drake is still playing on some tracks on Revolution!, although Ry Cooder and Van Dyke Parks are, too. 

What inspired "The Great Airplane Strike?"

There was a strike at LAX during that year.  And we went out there, we were supposed to be going out on tour somewhere, and found out we weren't going anywhere.  So everybody else went back home, and I just kinda sat there at the airport on our cases and kind of watched the whole thing go down, and came up with the song.  And the extended version that you hear on the Sundazed release, I hadn't heard that since we did it, and it was really amazing to me.  We did a lot of stuff that we edited down.  We did so many things that I forgot half the stuff we did.  Let me think about this for a minute.  On that track, there were some Raiders musicians (laughs). 

I suppose there was that whole "authenticity" question for some at the time.  Which is really a non-issue.

Well, the funny thing is, I mean, The Byrds were using the same guys that we were on their tracks, as was everybody in town.  That was just the way you made records in those days.  Especially if you were a touring band, you only had so much time in the studio, you had to go fast.  It was a big secret, but it wasn't.

Spirit Of '67 was recorded over a longer time frame than any previous Raiders album.  Were you consciously trying to stretch out?

Well, sure.  I mean, let me think what was out about that time.  Rubber Soul was out, right? 

And Sgt. Pepper.

Yep, yep.  And Aftermath.  So yeah, we were trying to grow a little bit.  And obviously we were influenced by what was going down around us.

After the "Ups And Downs" single, the original Raiders--or, at least, the Raiders group known from Where The Action Is!--split up, with Phil Volk, Drajke Levin, and Mike Smith leaving to form a group called Brotherhood.  What prompted them to leave?

Well, I think...On the first album, everybody was featured, right?  Then, because I was the front man on TV and stuff, I started getting, I guess, a lot of attention, and Terry thought that I should be the voice of the group.  Which I really was--when we did our shows live, I sang 90% of the stuff.  But since [on] the first album everybody got a shot, and I think they kinda wanted to continue that way.  Plus, everybody wrote.  I think they thought that their tunes should be featured more, and they should be featured more, and that they had a lot more to say than they were able to say with the Raiders.  And, you know, everybody has egos and things, and goes through those things.  I'm only saying this because I've done it myself (laughs), when you think you're a little bit taller than you really are. 

Freddy Weller joined the new Raiders.

We were on the road, and he was Billy Joe's guitar player, Billy Joe Royal.  And we needed a guitar player.  Even though it was a kind of a departure, because he was basically very country-influenced.  It just worked out that way.  Then Joe [Correro] Jr., who was on a tour with a band--I think it was Flash and the Board of Directors--and he was drumming.  When Smitty was getting ready to leave, I said to Paul, "That's our next drummer."  And it worked out.  That was probably, technically, the best drummer that the Raiders ever had.  But Smitty was the most recognizable.  I listen to some of the early stuff as it comes out, and I hear Smitty playing, and he was always...what made part of the groove was that Smitty was always, not behind the beat, but....  Some drummers play on top of the beat, some play behind, and he was always just slightly behind.  Which stretched the groove a bit, which was pretty cool.  I mean, that was part of the sound.  I didn't realize it until much later, but that was just his style and that's what worked. 

I read that the "Him Or Me" single was recorded much differently than your previous singles.

It's true.  Terry went up out in the studio, we had a metronome, and he layed down a piano track.  Because we had just written the tune on piano.  Then we brought in musicians to overdub on top of the metronome and piano track.  Nowadays, that wouldn't be unusual at all, the metronome would be a drum machine.  But in those days you cut live a lot, and then overdubbed.  This was kind of overdubbed from the start.

"The Legend Of Paul Revere" was the B-side; that originally appeared on your first Greatest Hits set.  When was it recorded?

I'm not sure--around that time, but a little before. 

I know it appears on Greatest Hits, which must have come out before "Him Or Me" (which isn't included on that album).  And the liner notes to Greatest Hits refer only to the Where The Action Is!-era line-up.  I came to all of this stuff considerably after the fact, so forgive me if my chronology is a little screwy.  I picked up all these records in the late '70s, used, when I was lucky enough to be able to track down any Raiders records at all.

I think Bob [Irwin] did an incredible job with the re-releases.  He was always finding great tracks that I'd forgotten we did.  And plus he tries very hard to match the sound of the CD to the sound of the record.  I mean, I'm vastly disappointed in the Legend Of Paul Revere CD.  It just sounds so bad.  And you should have heard it before I had them re-master it.  They wouldn't re-mix it.  Unfortunately, there's no bottom end on it at all.  And they used the wrong tapes and stuff.  BUT, that was then (laughs)!

I'm already on record as saying that Bob Irwin should be allowed to reissue the entire Raiders catalog.  He'd do the job right.

I agree with you.  Hes so thorough.  When we were mixing down, I guess Spirit Of '67, he called me and said, "I want you to come to New York if you can, and be there on a couple of these tracks.  I really wanna do 'em right."  Bob can find almost anything (laughs).  We've managed to find a couple of [things], like a single that I cut as a vocalist in 1961 when I was in Hollywood.  Gary Paxton cut it, and as the Raiders released it never came out.  So we found things like that.  I don't know what Bob's gonna do with those, but it'll find its way out somehow.

By this time, I think the Raiders were way beyond any Nuggets grouping.  How had the live show changed from the early days?

Let me see--what year is this now?

Say '67 or '68.

So we probably, well...the live show had changed.  We were still doing a lot of the hits, but I guess we did "I Had A Dream," but I'm not sure that we did that.  Because that would have been a pretty tough one to pull off. 

Were you still doing the early rock 'n' roll stuff, like "Ooh Ooh Pah Doo" or "Yoyu Can't Sit Down?"

No, we weren't doing "Can't Sit Down"  We might have been doing "Ooh Poo Pah Doo."  Probably not.  We were probably doing mostly the hits by that time.  The kids who bought the records, the record-buying public at that time, really we had almost two careers.  The "Ooh Poo Pah Doo" and "Can't Sit Down" era was one that was more the regional Raiders than the national Raiders.

Ry Cooder and Van Dyke Parks worked on Revolution!

Well, actually I think Van Dyke is on Spirit Of '67.  There's a cut that kinda has a funky harpsichord that might be him.  I have to look at my copy--it's been too long!  (laughs)  Revolution!, definitely.

A Christmas Present...And Past was Melcher's last work with the band.

Yeah.  CBS came to Terry and said, "The Raiders need to do a Christmas album."  And I remember Terry and I were sitting there at home at our place and saying, "A Christmas album?  How do you do a Christmas album?"  Obviously, Phil Spector's Christmas album was out, but we can't do that.  So we decided--cleverly (laughs)--that we were going to make it.  It's a pretty dark album.  It's basically almost a protest album.  There's an anti-war song there.  Our take on the thing was, well, Christmas is great, but why can't people be nice to each all the year, and maybe be bad or mean--or not mean, but maybe be the way they usually are--at Christmas, for two weeks.  We'll turn it around.  So, in other words, it's kind of ludicrous.  The way we thought was that it was negative that people had to have all this animosity toward each other all year, and then for two week's everything was King's X.  So we wrote it in that [vein].  The songs are not traditional Christmas songs.  And I remember we cut the acetate--the only song on there that's traditional, I think. was "Jingle Bells," and we (laughs) brought in two people off the street to sing it.  But anyway, we were invited over to a Christmas party over at the guy who was one of the first big syndicated programmers, that was just started then.  And, of course, it would be AM.  So he heard that we'd cut the new Christmas album, so he invited us over for the Christmas party because he wanted to hear it.  So he puts the acetate on the turntable, he plays a little bit of the first cut and he kinda [goes] "Huhh!"  Skips over to the next, and he kind of keeps skipping and skipping and skipping, and finally (laughs) he gets angrier and angrier.  He picks up the acetate and says, "You guys really missed the fuckin' boat on this one!"  He flings it across the room and it kind of sticks to the wall and then it falls down.  Terry and I went, "Well, we'll see ya later (laughs)!"

The only track I've heard off that is "Macy's Window."

Yeah.  I remember at the end it was something about the excesses in Macy's window, and the children starving somewhere else in the world.  The actually is in print, the CD.

What was the genesis of 1968's Goin'  To Memphis album?

That was a whole different ball of wax.  At that time, Terry was in Spain vacationing with Andy Burgess, and we needed a single out.  I can't remember--what would the single be before "Too Much Talk?"  

"Peace Of Mind?"

We needed a new single, and so CBS said, "Terry, come back and cut a record."  And he said (laughs), "No, I'm havin' a good time over here.  I'm not comin' back for a while."  So they were desperate, they wanted something out.  So I said, "Well look, give me a shot at it.  I'll cut a record."  And so I did.  And unfortunately--fortunately or unfortunately, I'm not sure how you wanna look at it--but "Too Much Talk" went to # 11 in Cashbox, and was really never played in New York or Los Angeles.  So on the strength of that, they kept me on as producer.  When Terry came back, I said, "Letís do it together," but he didn't want to do that.  And I really, looking back, I wonder how the sound of the Raiders...I mean, it changed, but it would have changed differently if we had kept going from Revolution! in that direction rather than in some of the other directions that we went.  And I always wonder:  what if Terry would have remained our producer, or we would have co-produced or something?  Because, you know, some of the records that we made after were in different formats, I mean, like Something Happening is, I guess, kind of psychedelic (laughs), kind of bubblegum psychedelic.  But I've often wondered what directions we might have not gone in.  But we'll never know, will we?

So, about that time we had a road manager who was from Memphis, and he knew all of Elvis' cronies and stuff.  And I think Elvis had just cut his album with "Burnin' Love" and stuff like that--was that before Goin' To Memphis or after?

"Burnin' Love" actually would have been in the '70s.  "Suspicious Minds" and "Kentucky Rain" would have been about that time.

Yeah, I think he cut that in Chip Moman's studio.  There were two studios [in Memphis].  They were American Recorders, which was "Angel Of The Morning" and The Box Tops and stuff like that, and there was Stax/Volt, which was a whole different ball of wax.  But they were the two main studios in town.  And Jerry came up with this idea that he could have Chips Moman produce an album for us.  So basically I went to Memphis and, being the procrastinator that I am, I hadn't written any tunes.  I got to town a week before we started recording, and got a room overlooking the Mississippi River, I think it was a new Holiday Inn, and they had a new suite on the top floor that James Brown had just vacated, and there was a big white piano there.  So I sat down and in about four days and wrote about seven or eight tunes.  And basically went in with the Memphis musicians, that's the same, I think it's like Gene Crispian on drums, and Tommy Cogswell on guitar and Mike Leach on bass.  The Raiders weren't in town, it was all the Memphis band.  That was the only way Chips would agree to do it.  It's funny, when you read the back of the album (laughs), it sounds like we took the town by storm.  But it was a departure; it was fun to do, but it was obviously really a left turn.

Coincidentally, though, this was right around the same time that Michael Nesmith went to Nashville to record the sessions that later became The Monkees' "Listen To The Band" single, and just a little after The Byrds' Sweetheart Of The Radio album.

The country was kind of going through a cowboy phase (laughs). 

There are two versions of "Too Much Talk," and they're radically different.

Yeah, for the LP version I thought we'd cut this section in the middle that really gets psychedelic. 

Right around this time frame, the Raiders get another TV show (Happening '68), and Keith Allison joins the group.

Yeah.  Charlie Coe was back in the group, and then he left.  We had the revolving Raiders--I think there's about 30 or 40 (laughs).  My dream is to someday have all of the guys that were ever in the Raiders on stage together.

You'll have no room for an audience!

No, but it would be a pretty good sound, probably.  It would be interesting.  I've recently been in contact with the guys that were in the first version of the group, which was Dick White and Robert White and Bill Abrams.  Actually, I've tried to call all the guys.  About two years ago I started calling old Raiders and saying, you know, "How are ya? (laughs)  Hope I treated you well in the past, I'm sorry if I didn't, but how's it going?"  Just to say, "Thanks, it was fun."

How had the rock audience changed from the time of Where The Action Is! to the time of Happening '68?

Well...okay, we're now [to the time where] the Viet Nam War is winding down, or should be.  And San Francisco music scene is started.  And the good-time music that worked, gradually the tone of the country changed.  And the Raiders weren't...I mean, the audiences became hipper, the music became deeper, and we had a pretty good run, so if you were really commercial you started getting rejected.  The whole country was changing.  We went  from bobby sox and blue jeans to love beads and hip-huggers and tie-dye.

How conscious an effort to court the new rock audience was "Let Me!" and the Alias Pink Puzz album?

"Let Me!," not necessarily.  Actually, "Let Me!," I was in the shower one day and this idea came, and all these hooks started coming to me.  I thought, "Well, I'll just make the commercial record (laughs).  This will be the most commercial record I've ever done."  It was just a series of hooks if you listen to it.  But Pink Puzz, yes, we were trying to change our image a bit, and court favor with the new audience, we'll call it.  As a matter of fact, I don't know if you've heard this story or not, KPSK I think was one of the first "FM" stations in Los Angeles. FM with quotation marks around it.  We had just finished Pink Puzz, and the guy from CBS--Paul Tree, I think his name was; his nickname was Tree, his first name was Paul.  And I said, "Why don't you tell the station that this is a new group on CBS, and start teasing them."  So he did, he said, "There's this great group on CBS.  They're called Pink Puzz, they live out in Topanga, and they're working on this stuff and it's gonna be better than Moby Grape." So they kept saying, "So, can you get us something in?  We'll play it."  Finally he got two cuts off the album, and got 'em on an acetate.  And Alias Pink Puzz was already released by this time.  And [the station] started playin' 'em, saying, "Man, this is this new group Pink Puzz.  Hey, aren't they cool?"  After about four or five spins, they started getting some calls saying, "That's not--that's Paul Revere and the Raiders!"  They went, "What?!"  So he just trashed it, threw it in the waste basket.  So, as Pink Puzz, it was cool; as Paul Revere and the Raiders, it wasn't.  So that kind of proved my point.  Once you get an ID it's kind of hard to shake it.

At about this time, you had some solo success with "Arizona."

Yeah, well, that was CBS.  We would always [put] a couple of ballads or slower-tempo tunes on the album, like "Little Girl In The Fourth Row" or "Melody For An Unknown Girl" or something.  And we'd always get requests for those at shows.  So I think Revere actually suggested, you know, "Why don't you cut an album of ballads?"  And CBS thought that was a great idea.  They thought, well, Andy Williams and Johnny Mathis are getting a little long in the tooth, so we'll make another pop star.  And that's what that was all about.

You've reissued the Collage album yourself.

Yes.  [sings] "You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant, or at www.marklindsay.com."  Collage was really...how will I say this?  I said, "Okay--we're gonna go all the way.  What would the Raiders sound like if nobody knew what the Raiders sounded like?  I'm gonna make a record of music which I think is contemporary, and not worry about whether it sounds like the Raiders or not."  And that was the whole concept.  And we cut it, and when it was released it was reviewed by Rolling Stone.  They gave it a rave review.  It was the only Raiders album that Rolling Stone ever reviewed.  The tenor of the article was like, "Forget what you've heard by the Raiders.  They are not wimpy--they have arrived!"  But unfortunately, it didn't sound anything like us, so the Raiders fans were totally confused.  And I wasn't savvy enough to go to Clive Davis, who was the president of CBS at the time, and say, "Look, this one didn't go.  It was too much of a shock.  We've gotta do another one; if that one doesn't work, we'll do a third one.  By that time we'll be through, or we'll be through.  But let's follow this out to its natural course."  I was so disheartened by the lack of acceptance of Collage that [it was] kind of like the end of my recording career.  We did have "Indian Reservation" after that.

What prompted the decision to shorten the group's name to The Raiders?

That was a conversation I had with Clive, and I had talked to Revere before.  The Rascals had just changed their name from Young Rascals to Rascals, and Paul Revere and the Raiders sounds like Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas.  So I said to Revere, "Weíve dropped the Revolutionary outfits"--which was probably a mistake (laughs).  The outfits we were wearing weren't much better!  "Let's just change the name of the group to Raiders.  It's one word, doesn't sound so cumbersome."  So I went to Clive, and told him that we wanted to do that.  And he said, "Well, we'll change it to either The Raiders with Mark Lindsay or The Raiders featuring Mark Lindsay (laughs).î  And I said, "No, I can't do that.  I can't go to Paul and say, 'Look, they're gonna drop your name but not mine.'"  So it just became Raiders, which was also confusing because nobody knew if it was the same band or not.  So I had a lot of great ideas that didn't work (laughs)

Would you agree that "Just Seventeen" was proto-metal?

I would say it was certainly influenced by Led Zeppelin on that one.  That's a pretty good record.

"Indian Reservation?"

It was supposed to be a Mark Lindsay single.  It wasn't supposed to be a Raiders single.  It was because a Mark Lindsay single was all studio musicians.  And I produced it, because at the time I think Jerry Fuller was busy.  I didn't usually produce myself.  And I had just cut "Birds Of A Feather," and which  I knew would chart.  I knew it was commercial enough to chart.  "Indian Reservation," I didn't have any idea.  So I went to CBS and told them, "Look, if you guys want to put this out as a Raiders single," kind of like backing off, like "If it's got my name on it and it's not a hit, I don't want to [be blamed]. (laughs) I don't know what it was.  I love the record, but I really couldn't call it.  I thought it was either gonna be a smash, or it was gonna be a total bomb.  And usually I can call, like "This is gonna be Top 40, this'll be Top 50."  I can usually call a record within 20 points.  But I had no idea on "Indian Reservation."  Of course, it turned out to be the biggest single we ever had (laughs).

Was Country Wine the last Raiders album?


Tell us a little bit about "Song Seller."  That's a terrific single.

We were getting a little bit disenchanted at that point.  That's a Jimmy Webb tune, right?  He must have been having problems getting stuff played too (laughs).

What became of The Raiders as an act after that?  Did you continue to perform with Paul?

I did a couple of tours by myself, but I was always with the group [too].  I didn't leave the group and pursue my own career.  When I stopped recording and performing, I stopped in both places.  After "Indian Reservation," it was kind of a strange line-up.  We had two drummers, two keyboard players and two guitar players.  Smitty was our drummer, and he couldn't really play "Indian Reservation," and Paul couldn't get the organ lick on the end of it (laughs).  Actually, it sounded pretty good there for a while.  But the Raiders at that point were past their bell-shaped curve.  I'd been doin' it with the band for what, almost fifteen years?  And I was just probably burned out.  It just wasn't fun anymore.

What did you wind up doing?

Well, I went to bed for 12 years (laughs).  No, I stayed in the business.  I did commercials, and did some production on some things that didn't happen.  Did A & R for United Artists Records for a while.  I stayed in the business in about every aspect you can except performing.  And that changed.  Well, I really thought I would never, you know, that I'd hung up my rock 'n' roll shoes, basically.  And a guy named Paul Stanley in Chicago--not the guy from KISS, but another guy named Paul Stanley--coerced me into going out and hosting a live show.  He always wanted me to perform, and I said, "Absolutely not."  But he said, "Would you host a show?," I said, "Sure."  So we come out and we're rehearsing a show down in Detroit, I think, he says, "Lindsay!  We have 15 minutes to fill.  Can you do 'Kicks,' 'Hungry,' 'Just Like Me,'and "Indian Reservation?'"  And I went, "Oh, sure."  But he said, "No, no, the band's got the charts and everything."

So the first night we opened up, and "Ladies and gentlemen, our host for the evening, Mark Lindsay."  And got a nice round of applause.  And then just before intermission I did my little bit, I got a standing ovation.  I went, "Wait a minute!  This feels good again!"  So that was the beginning of me gradually working it back to where we do about maybe 50-75, probably about 75 shows a year.  Which is enough. 

Were you aware of the original Nuggets compilation when it came out in the early '70s?

Yes and no.  I think I heard some cuts some place.  I didn't have the album.  I didn't really realize that there was this package full of all, well, all the little nuggets.  Full of all the great songs that I always liked, like "Little Black Egg"and "7 And 7 Is" and "Pushin' Too Hard," you know, all the weird stuff.

By this time, how did you think rock history was going to remember Paul Revere and the Raiders?

By that time,  the music had changed so much, I thought, well,  this is gonna be like swing music, big bands.  There'll always be a few people around who will remember Benny Goodman and will like him, but the big bubble in the middle will go on.  And I really didn't think that our music was going to be that memorable.  Who knew (laughs), who knew about CDs, and that rock 'n' roll as an art form or music form would still be here in the '90s?

When '70s punk emerged, how did you react to it on first exposure?

To be perfectly honest with you, at first I didn't like it.  It probably stirred something in me that [was] some memory I wanted to bury or something.  But I said, "Wait a minute.  If this really disturbs you that much, you better find out why."  So I started listening to it, and I found out a lot of it was just the wild abandon that I used to have, that we used to have, and I really regretted not having that anymore.  But I thought there was a lot of interesting stuff.  And now it's come around to where a lot of, we'll call them alternative bands, the music business got so big in the middle that a lot of bands just said, "Well, there's no way I'll ever get signed," so they did like a lot of the bands on the Nuggets did:  they hung a microphone in somebody's living room or borrowed a studio and just wailed away for three minutes.  And now you see a lot of bands making their own [way].   There are obviously commercial bands today, but you see a lot of bands that'll be regional bands, they'll press up a bunch of tapes and CDs and sell 'em at their gigs.  And not worry about their commercial success that much.  It's a lot tougher now, I'm sure.  (laughs) There's more people playin'.  There used to be R & B, Gospel, Pop, Country and Rock ëní Roll.  And I think there's probably about a thousand more divisions than that now.  Music for left-handed banjo players standing on linoleum!  (laughs)

In 1978, you participated in a Paul Revere and the Raiders reunion for a Dick Clark TV special.

Yeah, I remember it well.

How did that come about?

Dick Clark was having a 25th anniversary, and I guess asked around.  I'm not sure how we all got together, but apparently we all thought it was a pretty good idea.  And that was fun.  We cut the track up at my little studio.  And I've seen the clip a few times.  It's kind of interesting. 

You just did another reunion, didn't you?

Yeah, I guess about six months ago or whatever.  We got together in Portland and did a set.  I had my band there, and then the Raiders stepped on--[mock dramatic voice] "The Raiders stepped on stage"--for the second half of the show, and we did a lot of the old hits.  And Phil did an incredible version of "Baby Please Don't Go."

Any thoughts of doing it again?

It was so hard to get all the moving parts together.  Everybody lives in different places.  Drake is one of the premier blues guitar players in San Francisco, he's really got his chops together.  And Phil's in Las Vegas, and Smitty is wandering around somewhere around the Northwest, he was always marching to the beat of a different drummer, and he (laughs) still is. 

Have you seen the film That Thing You Do!?

No, but I did see Spinal Tap (laughs).  I haven't seen That Thing You Do!, but I understand that they're...I should see it. 

Thanks so much for your time, Mark.  And I've gotta tell ya:  of all the interviews I've ever done, this is the first one where I've felt like I needed to get to the phone, call my sister, and say, "Denise!  Guess who I just spoke with?"

[Laughs] Well, tell Denise I said hello!