P - Pierre (DJ)
J - Jon
R - Richie
P - I have never seen you guys so excited about a project. You've finished this tour. Most bands are exhausted when they come off the road. Each one got a week off and then you come back and in 24 days have a new album recorded. That started out as just an acoustic reworking of your songs,
which you've been doing acoustically. But then this guy Pat Leonard comes along and a left turn is inserted in the process. Tell us who Pat Leonard
is, first of all.
R - Well, Pat he produced about a 125 millions records for Madonna and also wrote a lot of that stuff like LIVE TO TELL, some of her greatest
P - Did you get Pat Leonard from Elton John?
J - initially because it was such a very simple unplugged record, if you will. So people understand the kind of record it is, it was a greatest hits, but in an unplugged format. So we did the 5 songs in (somewhere) they sounded very good. And we enlisted his help based on his success with Rod Stewart's unplugged record or Bryan Adams unplugged record, and other things like that and obviously knowing his background as a producer. But
Pat came out to Jersey and when I tell you he turned the songs on their heads. I sometimes hear the tracks and have to realize oh it's that song. If the lyrics weren't on them, you wouldn't even recognize the songs. So its Peter Gabriel doing LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME, it's Led Zepplin doing WANTED. It's.. LIVIN ON A PRAYER is a duet with a girl that's sound like something, I don't know, maybe again a Gabriel vibe or Steinman would have done...
R - yea, you know, just that attitude itself, just actually coupling Jon with a female and the lyric and you know, the b section would come across
and it just..
J - we tried to bring the lyrics out of the songs
R - with turning, just turning the songs over. I mean, just imagine, it's like Jon singing we're half way there and the girl singing we'll make it I swear......
R - IT'S MY LIFE as a ballad.
J - with a harp
P - Really?
R - and it holds water
J - not a harmonica, a harp
R - these songs stand up man and it's so flattering for a writer to be able to say wow you can do anything to these songs and man they still have
a life
P - well Richie you said that Pat had given you instruments that you'd never seen before?
R - Oh, yea man, he said try this thing. I go, what is that, man? He says, it's a belzuki. And I go, great....spell it. Yea, try even spelling that
sucker. (laughter). Ya know, I had to learn how to play it on the spot. And I'm going, okay, I'll do this.toning it all, different stuff.
P - How'd you do with the belzuki?
R - Ask Jon
J - Phenomenal! Notice he has the rust on his fingers and we had to get it back to the restaurant by 6 o'clock. 'cause the waiters needed it. 'Cause
the people were going 'hu-pa'!
P - What other instruments that you never played before?
J - Mandacello, he played
R - A big ole mandolin called a mandacello, which is really an insane instrument, it sounds amazing. So, I mean, we just did a lot different things..
J - Baritone guitars and dobros.phenomenal!
P - And I understand the woman that sings WANTED was the older sister on that television show?
J - Yeah. What was it called? The one with little Fred Savage?
P - Uh, yea what was that called?
P - She played the older hippy sister
J - Her name is Olivia d'Abo is the actress' name
P - I didn't even know she sang
J - Either did we. We had a long list of people and because this record was made from start to finish, including the mixes, in 3 weeks, we had a
list of Annie Lennox to Sinead O'Connor to voices that could make this work. And, just the hierarchy of having to go through that, forget about
it. You know, call their manager, call their label, get the singles, bla bla bla. We couldn't part the seas in 3 weeks, so Pat's wife is this actress, Olivia d'Abo. And he played us some of her demos and I said she's our singer. Bring her in. And so, hopefully, people are gonna like it. She's sings like a cross between Rickie Lee Jones and Nora Jones. It's that kind of a thing. She found all the blue notes and brought them with her.
P - That's cool!
J - Hopefully people will like it
P - Now, you know, you got like BORN TO BE MY BABY. KEEP THE FAITH, IT'S MY LIFE, WANTED. Are you hearing 2 different versions of those songs in your head now when you think of those songs?
J - I'm probably tending to go towards the new ones, 'cause we're still in that moment.
P - Right
J - I hope it doesn't confuse folks too much when we get out there and play, you know. If they come with their cocktail dresses on and a cravat,
I'll know they looking for the new version.
R - (in John Lennon voice) If you like us, ring your jewelry
P - Thank you, John. You started experimenting on the last tour with some acoustic concerts. In Japan, I think, you did an entire acoustic concert
and some of the indoor arena shows you were starting with an hour acoustic set before picking up the rock side of that. Were fans responsive to that?
J - Very, very, very and people were disappointed that we didn't do it at the Vet and at Giants. When we got into the stadium run, I just didn't think it was the right locale, if you will, to be sitting down with an acoustic for an hour. But that was the initial idea for what the album was...very simple, live, acoustic and it turned into this other thing. And, you know, we're very excited about it. Hence the title, THIS LEFT F-E-E-L-S RIGHT is probably just the beginning of another era for us. It'll take us somewhere else now.
P - That is awesome!
J - hmm
P - And November 4th is when we'll see it. There's actually 2 new songs on it THIEF OF HEARTS and LAST MAN STANDING. Anything you can tell us about those?
J - I like 'em both. But, LAST MAN is probably a real tip of the hat to Bob Dylan. I was thinking of him and it's funny 'cause when we recorded
it, it was the day that Johnny Cash died. And I always thought of the narrator in this song , the lyrical content, as that of a carnival huckster who's drawing people into his circus tent to witness a freak show. And the freak show, if you can imagine, is just a real man who can sing and play. And I thought of Bob Dylan. He was my model for this.Because I can just envision him with his little mustache and that little bolero suit he's wearing these days with his acoustic guitar and with spider webs on him and, you know, you put a quarter in him and he goes one more time. Because in this day and age of lip syncing being so readily accepted and all anyone caring about is the teenage girl with the flat belly and the belly ring and who's kissing who.I just want to give them all my guitar and say 'sing me a song'.
R - Yeah! Yeah! (applause)
J - This is a real nod to all those great entertainers who, you know, from Paul Simon to Bob Dylan to Bruce to Petty to the Dead that can still go
out there, pick up an instrument, and play. And it's called THE LAST MAN STANDING
P - You like the Dead?
J - I like the Dead
P - Wow, Cool!
J - (laughs) Are we going to see the new Dead?
P - Yeah, let's go see 'em. I'd like to see you, have a tie-dye on you and some bell bottoms
J - See, I can see it now
P - That'll be cool. Richie does a great imitation of Bob Dylan too about the cowboy song.
R - (in Bob Dylan voice) Hey Richie I love that cowboy song