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Thursday, October 12, 2000

Randy Bachman chat transcript

Randy Bachman, Canadian rock icon and guitarist for the Guess Who, spoke with JAM! Music on Thursday October 12, 2000 to chat about The Guess Who, BTO, and his new autobiography, "Takin' Care Of Business".

Here is what he had to say:

CLEM: Greetings Mr. Bachman... You've released some great work by your mentor Lenny Breau, but is there any plans to put together a career-spanning anthology of his work, both previously released and unheard material? Also, have you heard of any plans to turn his life into a movie?

Randy Bachman: I know there is a few guys writing books, and that is usually the way to get a movie going. You have got to get a killer book, and it certainly has a movie tragic ending. I was very fortunate a while back, when I went to Nashville, Cotten Music, Richard Cotten is a guy he taught in the back shop. Lenny lived with them for seven or eight years. I didn't know Richard Cotten had passed away. I gave them the four Lenny albums I have put out. I felt good giving them to the Cottens, who had helped him out. Richard taped every show he did in Nashville for seven, eight or nine years, and she has consented to me to release them because she liked what I had done. HIs wife Darci contacted me and had all these tapes. I have 2500 hours of Lenny Breau. All itemized and god bless Richard Cotten. Lenny Breau with Nina Simone, etc. He was part of the backing group. I promised Darcy Cotten, next album I am going to release is Pickin' Cotten, the two of them. It is fabulous. She also found some pictures from that era, and those are very, very hard to find. I plan to do two Lenny Breau albums a year forever. I'm really grateful this is happening for me now. With all the technology now, the tapes weren't made by professional people, but I can clean it up. My Guitarchives website is doing very well with that stuff.

Tom: Hi, Randy. I was wondering if the "Axe" album was ever going to come out on CD.

Randy Bachman: I honestly can't see why anyone would want that on CD. You know, I was doing a gig 15 years ago, and Roy Buchanan was our opening act, and after, he came up to me, I said nice to meet you. You are the master of the telecaster, and he said your Axe album is one of my favorite albums. That thrilled me. I just had a record label call me and say what happened to Axe? It is owned by RCA/BMG, and we are dealing with them on the live album. Maybe I can call and get it back and get someone to release it.

Sarah: When is the live album coming out? Where was most of it recorded? Thank you.

Randy Bachman: We are trying to get it ready after Nov. 19, when the two hour special is on CBC. We taped the Winnipeg show with the nine-camera shoot, it was the highlight of the tour, aside from Toronto and Vancouver. It was quite an incredible thing for us. It is being edited right now. Right after that, we want to have the double album available for Christmas. Right after that, we are playing the half-time at the Grey Cup. The TV show was all done in Winnipeg. Other nights, Burton would come back stage and say, tonight, American Woman was the best. We made notes of it, so it is easier to go back. And those are the ones we are mixing. We're still working on the track listing. We did record the community club show, but I haven't heard any of it. Someone told me our fooling around on Louie Louie are gems, but I haven't heard any of it.

Rocky Barker: During the tour you said you and Burton were writing again. What kinds of songs and when will we get to hear them?

Randy Bachman: We delayed real serious writing. We are doing the Elton John/Bernie Taupin thing of sending things in the mail. Burton is going through the tapes, and sending them to me and I am mixing them in the studio. Once the record is out, we have plans to get together and do serious writing. No doubt, the chemistry is still there. We have played each other bits and pieces. We are hungry like the wolf. We got together several years ago and did 10 demos and we are looking at a few of those. Every time we get together, we wonder if the spark is still there and we are amazed that it is still there.

Ian from Simcoe, Ontario: Randy: Will The Guess Who songs from the "A Wild Pair" album ever be released on CD, and what about songs such as Flying On The Ground Is Wrong and This Time Long Ago. I would also be interested in knowing how many unreleased Guess Who songs were finished and will any of them ever be released.

Randy Bachman: I released the old masters from Quality records, the first three albums. Since then, I got the English tapes we did in England, Flying ON the Ground Is Wrong, There's no getting away from you, Miss Felicity Grey and This Time Long Ago. I had put together a double CD called This Time Long Ago. It had those songs, plus songs from the CBC Let's Go. Doors songs, songs with the Winnipeg Symphony. I am finding these on buried tapes. This double CD is ready. But I was advised to hold it back. Our manager is getting offers for a package, and this would be a part of it. It makes sense to do it with BMG, who have all our old material. I know he has got offers. I just got a call to do liner notes for Canned Wheat, and they are adding four new tracks. I honestly couldn't remember why we wrote the songs. We started to write material for the American Woman period. So I erased it from my memory. When they asked me to write the liner notes, and when I got Silverbird, Species Hawk, Palmyra and Where Do We Go From Here. I didn't remember them. We recorded them, and I left the band. I had no member of them. They came out on The Way We Were album. Canned Wheat is coming out very soon. We also have A Wild Pair ready to go, and then Wheatfield Soul.

Glenn, The Hawk: Burton referred to "Takin' Care Of Business" (the song) as having been drummed into the consciousness of every upright primate on this planet. On the other hand, "American Woman" is alive and kicking here in 2000, a full 30 years after the fact of its original recording. In your opinion, which of these two songs has been bigger, both in your life and in the rock world?

Randy Bachman: They are both kind of equal, in a way. One was my pinnacle fo writing and playing with the guess who, and the other was the same thing with BTO. Both were accidentally conceived on stage, so it was mystical and magical. To have these songs be jams onstage and then turn into anthems is a bit bewildering, when you are trying to write hit songs everyday. So they are both kind of the same, but from different eras. I feel very fortunate to be involved with both those great bands and great songs.

k8_gambino: how did you and the band feel when you got to preform "american woman" with Lenny Kravtiz for the first time ever at the much music awards?

Randy Bachman: It was unbelievable. To be suddenly and currently hip. It gets to a certain point, you think it is over and it is all young kids. no matter what I do, you can't be young. Now, all of us guys this summer were young again, I felt like I was 33 and a third. Then to have Lenny Kravitz have a hit and have it be in the movies, and all the commercials. To do it with Lenny at the MuchMusic awards, which I thought I would never be on again in my life. The MuchMusic thing was like a rave, a rocking party. It is what rock n roll is. Denise Donlon putting us together with Lenny, to meet him and the respect he gave us, and him asking me about my guitar sound, I am sending him the thing I invented for my guitar back in the 60s.

Robert SHAW: will there be a B.T.O. reunion in the near future??

Randy Bachman: I have been asked that hundreds of time. I almost don't see a need for it. I have been asked by Burton Cummings to include You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet in the set, and Burton is going to do Stand Tall. With me doing my BTO songs, there's no need for me to do BTO. This Guess Who setup is the best band I have ever had, it is the best management I have ever had, the best sound and light I have ever seen. I am stunned at the show we presented. It was so top notch, I couldn't settle for anything less.

Mark Doble (Lindsay, Ontario): One of the finest songs you ever composed is Prairie Town. Have you and Burton thought about reviving it for the Guess Who tour with Burton sharing lead vocals with you?

Randy Bachman: I mentioned it. We had so much material to do. When I showed up for the regathering, I was happy to be there, playing guitar for who I consider is one of the best singers in rock, Burton Cummings. I was just thrilled to play guitar for that. When burton asked me to play Takin' Care OF Business, Let It Ride and Looking Out For Number One. Prairie Town was one of the casualties, songs we left out that were hit singles.

Michael: Hi, Randy: Given the rather fragile relationship you've had with Burton over the years, did you worry that you might write something in your book that would cause some friction?

Randy Bachman: Yes, but not just with Burton. With everybody mentioned in the book, it is very hard to write a book and maintain a true storyline, without stepping on toes, bruising egos and breaking hearts. When I was first approached, I didn't want to do the book. John Einarson, who I wrote it with, he wrote other books. I respect him because he knows what we went through in the 60s. When he told me two other people were writing books on me, the chance to shut that down was to collaborate with him. I said I would do a book, but I feel like I am in the middle of my book. The last chapter of my book is from three months ago, when we finished the Guess Who tour. We started the book as funny recollections from my past, but it ended up being about what is happening. I stepped on my own toes, I said things about my kids and wife. But John said you can't have a whitewashed tale. It has to be uncensored. I read the first draft six months ago. After laughing at my childhood stories, when I got into the meat of the rock n roll thing, I had sleepless nights. I had no idea they were thinking that bout me. I had no idea I had hurt those people that way. I had to contact about a dozen people and explain how I was feeling, that I was hurt mentally, physically, spiritually. Now that everyone knows how we were feeling, it was better. It is weird how it all gets blown out of proportion over all the years. I got a phone call from Garry Peterson, and he didn't mention it. Burton called to congratulate that the book is a best-seller in Winnipeg. It was difficult to write about the rehearsals and some of the problems. It was so current, but you have to realize. but you have to realize the pressure, the microscope we were under, as guys in their 50s, given the chance to go back and win the Stanley Cup, that they won in their 20s. It was a monumental task. Burton said they have to sound just like the records, and then they have to be better, not just copying out stuff, but celebrating our stuff. And in the middle of doing this, there was a guy there from MacLean's magazine. It breaks your chain of thought. It all got really, really on us. It really got on Burton, because he is the voice and the magic guy. We felt we weren't making the progress at rehearsal. A lot of people got frustrated, but we all had moments of terror. Everything was suspended. We said no more press, no more guests and lets get down to rehearsing.

Philip Carmody: Will you and The Guess Who be touring in the US at all in the next 6 months, Did the band play a date with Steve Miller in Portland, Oregon in September and Will the band record new material? Tanks

Randy Bachman: We played with Steve Miller and it was absolutely incredible. 27,000 people It was like Woodstock, like the Seattle Pop Festival. He was a great pairing for us, because he is the same vintage, and same cool guitar songs. It tested the waters in the USA and it was as good or better than Canada. There are certain dates being talked about. We have had offers from Australia, England, offers from Lenny Kravitz, Steve Miller.

Dave Gallant - P.E.I.: Randy - I'm a big fan, and look forward to the new book. Question: will we ever get a chance to hear some of the classics from Iron Horse on CD? I recently re:discovered "Sweet Lui-Louise", and would love to have it on CD. Any chance of that happening? All the best.

Randy Bachman: No. I have contacted Scotti Bros, who own those masters. For me to release those, I would have to pay back all the record advances. They might release it, if the Guess Who make a big noise in the states. I would never get any money because I am an unrecouped artist.

Anonymous: I assume that Tal Bachman had a pretty good guitar teacher .. Do you two ever jam together - or thought of producing a father / son type of album?

Randy Bachman: I think in a week we might be doing Pamela Wallin. Tal is singing the anthem at a hockey game in New York. Tal is doing that, then to Toronto and there was talk of us doing Pamela Wallin together. But I didn't teach Tal any guitar. George Harrison, Brian May of Queen, Eddie Van Halen, he learned from those records. He didn't want to be me. He found himself, it is his album.

GlenM: On your Any Road promotion tour, you were telling me about the live Red River tapes (pre-These Eyes) you were hoping to release some day . . . are there still stumbling blocks to releasing them now? And do you have any idea of what became of that tape confiscated when you first jammed American Woman in Kitchener in '69?

Randy Bachman: I don't know what happened to that tape. The Red River Tapes are what we are calling This Time Long Ago, which will be coming out very soon. Thanks everybody for participating. If you want to find anything, go to Randybachman.com, and you can find out what is happening with me and the Guess Who.

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