Part II of the Upside of R&R Home

Page 153

Part I of the Upside of R&R Home

The Times: They were a changin'

   In late winter of 1973, I began feeling that something was changing in the group. It's hard to describe. In 1968, when the group first formed, it wasn't as much of a collaborative effort as it became from mid 1969 through 1973. Originally, Three Dog Night was considered to be strictly Danny, Chuck and Cory (In fact, it was always so, although through tenacity, musicianship, camaraderie and public response, this perception changed over the years. There were existing internal contracts between us, but that's private). To describe my feelings about "something was changing," I must allude to a number of factors. 1) Joe Schermie. First, and not to have been taken lightly, was the omission of Joe from the mix. I loved Jack Ryland dearly and still do. Jack was a marvelous player, as evidenced by his great playing on the intro of "Shambala," whereas Joe's style pushed and shoved the band like a small train, ( a "Sneed-let," if you will) bumping you "in time" with the groove.  2) Less collaboration. As time went on, things began to revert to where the musicians tended to just learn the demos that the singers wanted to do. There began to be minimal brainstorming opportunities in advance of the recording process. 3) Drugs. Not to be overlooked, drugs were permeating almost every corner of our group and music business associates. I should pause to say, "almost everybody." Cory and Skip were free of this self-imposed lifestyle. 4) Doubt and mistrust began creeping in due, in part, to the drug abuse. The business ranks had been grabbing to hold the control they perceived they had over us, and even gunplay came in at one point. This was not within the group itself. It's been said that "money is the root of all evil," and there's a lot to be said for that. In the studio, we were finding it more and more difficult to muster the magic we had in the previous years. Partly, from being trashed, partying and so on, but also from 5) ROAD BURNOUT. This is real. Ask any veteran entertainer. Although, the grueling schedule was affirmation of our talent and efforts, it took a major toll on our health, both physical and mental, and also in our personal lives. Jumping time zones every day, performing late at night and leaving early the next morning, then back to California for marathon recording sessions. A LOOP. A major LOOP. It's what we wanted, but it had a price tag attached that we didn't expect. We all became cranky, and that's putting it mildly. This kind of negative interaction brings a need for action, although it may be dipped in "pointing fingers." To repeat, these are my perceptions, not to be confused with certifiable truths. Others have different views on these things.

The Record Plant

    The decision was made to change recording studios and producers. The new studio was the Record Plant in Sausalito, California. It felt totally bizarre, not being in American Recording with Podolor and Cooper, but I was determined to make the best of it. Plus, a new member, Skip Konte was added as a second keyboardist to the band.


Below: A group shot in the studio that was used inside the album

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