After saying goodbye to Hoyt, for what I knew would be the last time, I flew home to California from Missoulla, MT the next day. His wife, Debbie was wonderful to me while I was there. A real sweetheart of a lady. Hoyt had given me a couple of cassettes that contained a rough demo of, "Some Women", that he and Louis had done. I took them with me on the road, as well as my Roland VS1680 digital workstation (recorder), and began hurriedly working on it in hotel rooms. I knew time was short. I transferred the demo's to my digital recorder and began working up a vocal arrangement, to what they had done musically. I edited the ending in a fashion that created new musical rounds, for a different kind of vocal. Soon, I had come up with an ending with 3 part harmonies to it. That was one of the first things that came to me. I was excited. Hoyt had to hear this. Then, I went back and did the lead vocal. I listened to the way Hoyt did it and decided that I would do the first verse in the same register as him. Fortunately, the key was right for me. Sitting in my hotel room, with a hand microphone, I put down what I thought was a rough lead vocal. When I was finished I was excited at how much the first verse sounded like Hoyt, with all his barrel-chested low tones. Upon finishing the vocals, I made the best mix I could, using just earphones and then I burned a CD in the hotel room and immediately mailed it, special delivery to Hoyt. He got it the next day. I phoned late in the afternoon and he was "stoked" over it. He said, trying to hold back his excitement "I like it, I really like it, Michael", and then he went off into an adrenaline schpiel about the song, the way us "muso nerds" do over hot licks and stuff. I was just overjoyed that he loved it. After hearing the results of my effort, it then became my agenda to get Cory or Danny to do the song in an upcoming 3DN CD. I burned copies for both of them. They liked it, too. As the next few weeks went by, I heard nothing more from either of them about it. In fact, I heard that it probably wouldn't be on our new CD. There were other songs they had in mind. This is my recollection. I even asked to make sure, or so I remember. I decided to go ahead and do the song myself, and include it on my own CD that I had been working on for almost 2 years.
Once back home, I began cutting the basic track with all new instruments. I had one almost done and then "axed" it. It just wasn't making it. I started again, completely new, from the beginning. A new take of the song. Ultimately, I made three different versions of it and was not happy at all. Finally, I decided that trying to pull off the bag that Hoyt and Louis had done, just wasn't my forte. It was great, but in all honesty, I wasn't cutting it. I decided that the best I could offer Hoyt was to do what my heart told me. Do Michael Allsup, if you will. So, I did. I approached it with more of a "stinging" guitar approach on the fill licks, but with "snaky" minor guitar passages, that gave a haunting, underlying feel to the verses. Then, I got down to doing the vocals. I did take after take after take after take. Somehow, it just didn't make it. I kept going back and listening to that "rough vocal", that I had done in the hotel room, and tried to recapture that. It was just not to be. Finally, I decided that I had just hit on a lucky take that day in the hotel room, and I was going to have to find a way to use that VERY vocal. I still had it in digital format. I copied it from the version I had sent Hoyt, and "flew" it into my new take, with the different style. It almost matched up, but the original demo tempo fluctuated somewhat, due to using a cassette and possibly, the original drum machine that Louis Bond had used. Hard to say just why, but the tempo varied and it caused a problem for me in using my original lead vocal, that I had sang to this "variable" tempo. I worked long and hard at it. Going line by line, syncing up my vocal from the hotel room. In the end, I decided to only change a few things and redo parts of that vocal. The major portion of the final lead vocal was the vocals that I did in the hotel room that day. Somebody, or something was with me that day and it was not to be denied. I used all the background vocals from the hotel room. Hoyt never got to hear the finished version. He passed away on October 26th. Besides the grief over losing Hoyt, I was so disappointed that I hadn't finished it in time for him to hear the new arrangement, with the guitars and such. Still, I was thankful that he had heard the vocal direction I was going in. As I said before, the first verse was my attempt to "out and out", do Hoyt. To sound like him. A tribute, if you will. I then went on to build the song, because I really had Cory in mind for singing the song in the first place. I figured when he heard it, that it would be obvious to him that this was FOR 3DN, and perfect for him. Then, as time went on and I put more and more effort into the song, mixing and mastering it and falling even more in love with the song, I must admit that I began to have faith in what I had done with Hoyt's song. I had heard no more talk about it from Danny or Cory. I made the decision to make it the title song of my CD, and to dedicate the CD to Hoyt. I was that excited about it. I never had the desire, nor the plans, to ever leave Three Dog Night. I just knew I had to go forward and MAKE MUSIC. It's what I am. At the very least, I thought maybe I could shake this band back into believing in a collaborative effort with each other again. Coincidentally, we have taken great strides recently in that direction. I don't take full credit for it, only partially. Not so much for what I did, but for the obvious joy I experienced in doing it. Others have stepped forward and re-asserted themselves musically, and it is showing wonderful rewards. The joy of music is an infectiuous thing. All you have to do is put a little hot sauce on it, and the juices start flowing.
I began working with Liz Hutton in Houston, via phone and modem, on the graphics for the pamphlet included with my CD. What a wonderful experience that was. For me, at least. Poor Liz. She was so patient with me, but I certainly was a handful for her. Her talent gave interpretation to my partial concept of what I was looking for. She helped define it, as well as having artistic input to the content of all the graphics. Not just a line here or a color there, real artistic development and brainstorming. I want to acknowledge her for that. Really wonderful. Of course she DID the graphics, but also gave me more than I asked of her. Ideas to be considered and haggled out. In reality, I went to "graphics school" while doing this project with her. She allowed me that, and we were a great team. Make no mistake about it, she DEFINITELY IS the "graphics queen". A great experience for me to get to work with her. I'm very thankful for her help in this work of love, on our friend Hoyt's last song. What a joy it was.
One last thing: While at Hoyt and Debbie's house that last time, when I said "goodbye" Hoyt pulled me close and said, "Thanks for giving me a career, Michael. Thank all the guys (in 3DN) for me". I damn near broke down. I put my hand on his shoulder and said, "Hoyt, you silly shit. Don't you know you gave us one, too?" We both held back tears, as smiles overtook our faces. I left thinking of how much the combination of Hoyt and our band, have gotten into the American public. What a wonderful feeling, to have brought music to an entire generation and maybe more.
In the weeks that followed, Cory and I seemed to find ourselves being slightly possessive over who knew Hoyt the best. Nothing really said, just a few words in passing. I was unaware that Cory had spent so much time with him in those earlier years, and even in-between, fishing and just hanging out at a cabin. As the days passed, I began to realize that we were just trying to label the depth of our loss. We had ALL lost a good human being and friend in our life. A unique individual with great heart. It was not something to measure or compare. I felt a little ashamed that I had acted like that. You can get ignorant at any age, I suppose. All I know is that Hoyt is gone. I don't know if he'll ever be back this way again. I do still talk to him, occasionally. Usually, just an "all right Hoyt", when we're onstage, playing "Never Been to Spain" or "Joy to the World", but especially when I listen to "Some Women".
--Way to go, HOYT--