Clio Award Winning PSA
When director Kurt MacCarley contacted me to do music for a PSA he was shooting we had no idea that it would win such a prestigious honor.We scored to picture that had a scene of Terri Garr as a housewife and her kids piling into their car to go somewhere.
As they backed out of the driveway the scene shifted to a bar and patron slamming down the end of a drink and grabbing his keys. Then the picture showed both cars headed towards each other and the moment of contact they barely missed.
“It Could Happen” would play interspersed with trailers for years in the movie theaters around the country – and hopefully it could happen didn’t happen less because of it. Thank you Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.
Dave was the signed as the main writer for WB recording artists KINDRED 2 albums – Produced by Chuck Negron the lead singer for Three Dog Night the top group in the world with mega hits “Joy to the World” and “Celebrate”.
Personnel was Dave Bluefield keys, Marty Rodgers vocals and songwriter, Bernie Mysior
Bass, Gloria Gaioni vocals and great dancer (Shindig) and Ron Grinel drums – Sandy Szigeti (RIP) guitarist was replaced by Bobby Cochran nephew of the great rocker Eddie Cochran, Ron was replaced by Jimi Ericsson.
The band toured with Three Dog Night and opened for them and was seen by an estimated 500,000 folks, many of whom went to their local record stores (yes, back when Vinyl ruled) only to find Kindred was not on the shelves! When our management was transferred from Joe Sutton (Ricky Nelson and Neil Diamond) to Reb Foster and Assoc (Three Dog Night, Steppenwolf) – Foster had a great relationship with Dunhill Records(who was Three Dogs company) but zero with Warner Bros.. What this meant to us 22 yr old. Rock star wannabees was that without that critical timing to match the records in the stores with the city where the concert and local radio station interviews were -without any distribution -meant we missed sales and lost out as “neverbees”.
We surely had a GREEAAAT (Tony the Tiger) time and got to see the world as well as cement relationships that would last 40+years, but oh what might have been if we weren’t relegated to become a classic record biz “write-off”.
We met many of the top acts of the day and were inspired by their talent – other bands besides Three Dog Night were ‘Tim Buckley (RIP), Badfinger, Black Oak Arkansas, Uriah Heep, Steppenwolf, John Mayall, Richard Pryor (yes the amazing genius RIP). After every Three Dog Concert, during their encore Kindred would come on stage and jam with them and a few years later Chuck Negron asked me to join the Band and touring with them I got to play with the Turtles, Gary Pucket and the Union Gap, ‘Spanky and Our Gang, Chicago, the Beach Boys and of course Ringo.
Kindredalbum first cut Captain Bobby Stout for his track Cllick clack -get back also appeared in the black Animal House knock-off movie.
The Tracey Ullman Show and The Simpsons were both produced by the god-father of comedy James Brooks ( “Taxi”, “Mary Tyler Moore”, “Broadcast News”, etc) and he is known for this very distinctive high laugh which comes from out of the darkness during the dress rehearsal on Thursday of the Friday show day. Of course I found this out later and didn’t realize how important it would be for me and my regular heart beat (as opposed to a thumping one).
I got a call on monday to show up to Stage 17 at 20th Century Fox studios and I was one nervous guy when cast-member Dan Castellaneta (also THE voice of Homer Simpson ) welcomed me and showed me around. I was supposed to play the piano for a dance skit featuring Steve Martin and Tracey. Immediately I was wondering what in the world I would play and tried to prepare myself for this important decision – Day 1 – met Steve Martin and Tracey and they learned these crazy hilarious absurd dance moves that only the likes of Steve Martin could pull off – “Skin the Duck” “Barbecue Tongs” “” were my immediate faves and I realized I was going to really concentrate to keep myself from laughing during the skit.
Day 2 more of the same, but I was always jockeying to find a moment where I could get a momet with Steve and tell him how much I enjoyed his shows at the Troubadour in LA (when he had an arrow in his head) and also remind him we had met years earlier playing racquet-ball in Aspen, Colorado. But he kept hanging out alone by himself and I did not want to intrude. Until Day 3 when the crew had to spend three hours pasting little color pieces of tape on the floor to mark where they would be dancing in order sync up with guys lighting the scene – so Steve Martin, Tracey Ullman and myself went to a room where Steve and I were supposed to figure out the music I would play.
We did that real quick and since I had just seen the movie “Roxanne” (starring Steve based on the famous play Cyrano de Bergerac about a guy with a large nose), I asked him how long it took to get the scene in the movie that had 20 insults from the bar patrons about his nose, like “excuse me is a that nose or did a bus park on your face” – He was very interested and told me it took over 2 months and they settled on the 20 but they shot close to 50. Then I got so excited, (because when I saw that scene I came up with 2 of my own) and I blurted out that I had a couple – and Steve said “oh really please tell me?” And still to this day -I could not remember! My brain froze and I still can’t recall. I was so embarrassed that I blew this opportunity, but Steve was cool and said that stuff like that happens to him all the time.
Now everything on the set on mon, tues, and wed was always light-hearted and very funny all the time – until thursday …the day that James Brooks would be in the darkened audience critically determining what he wanted and what he didn’t want in the show and the air was so thick and stifling you could barely cut it with a knife. When it was time for our skit -I actually thought I could hear the sound my thumping heart made as it pounded into my chest from the inside. Off we went and then at the end (and even during) -everyone could hear this high-pitched laugh that could only be coming from the boss. So he liked it but we (meaning me) were not out of the woods yet. There followed this weird conversation with Brooks’ voice in the dark asking Steve or Tracey if they could think of a different ending, And without skipping a beat they just started having ideas and dancing and it was hilarious- it reminded me of the time I played for Mork and MIndy and watched Jonathan Winters and Robin Williams lightning quick minds in action. Then someone said “what about the piano part”? and i nearly died. Then “the voice” said -from out of the darkness – it was fine !!! It was fine!!!
The next day was film day and it went fantastic. And why not ? I had the privilege to interact with some great talent that day. And lastly, many years later at the Aspen Comedy Fest – I was sitting in the same row with Steve Martin, Billy Crystal and Bob Costas and when I got up and passed by them knee to knee – I looked at Steve Martin directly in the face and said ” Hey I still can’t remember those 2 big nose insults” and to his credit he smiled and remembered.
Reach for Fitness was a very special opportunity to provide the music and the hit song Heart to Heart Hand to Hand a handicapped kids video – with Ann Margaret Cybil Shepard Jane Fonda Betty White John Ritter and Donna Mills and other top celebs providing voice-over – Richard Simmons then wanted to work with me again on the Silver Foxes.
Silver Foxes – A production company in Santa Monica contacted me to create Big Band Swing music for an exercise video for Seniors -only these seniors were Dustin Hoffman’s Dad, Sylvester Stallone’s mom. Al Pacino’s dad and Richard Simmons mom. When my own mom and dad watched and slow- danced together it was a touching moment I will never forget.
“AaRanger in the Rainforest” (Music R1 C4) is heard by 90 mill, people daily in the world of ambient background music.
I remember being in between the 2 doors leading into a Coco’s (Restaurant chain) in Downtown Denver when I heard -ever so softly in the background – a flurry of piano runs that sounded familiar – it was me playing “The Better End” and I got real excited and told the folks I was with : “hey that’s me!’ and they said “what?” “where?” – it was that soft but yet my ear and brain were working in sync that day.
It happened again with another cut in a Standard Brands paint store – Maybe it helped create a mood for deciding upon what color to paint a bedroom.
When I first moved to Aspen for real and had an amazing apartment with a home recording studio right in the middle of town – I got a very strange call late one night and was asked if I could record a live vocal – I said I guess so (mostly cause it was late and there was minimal traffic outside my window in the heart of town) and the next thing I know
it is Don Henley – a hero of mine from the Eagles – in town (where he has his own place) needing to record a PSA for a project very dear to his heart -The Walden Woods Project- a not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting the historic woods in Massachusetts where author/philosopher Henry David Thoreau first championed the concept of land conservation. Henley has chaired the organization’s board of directors since its inception, and now he’s up here in my living room recording his voice. I was just dieing to ask him all kinds of questions about the Eagles and the days at the Troubadour at Los Angeles where he and Glenn Frey would hang out and eventually landed in the Linda Rondstadt band – I was there too, mixing it up but never got the chance to meet until here in this mountain resort town. He left as quickly as he arrived but that did not stop the phone from ringing since apparently word had gotten out that he was recording ‘somewhere”.
I still have the DAT tape we made that night and now all I have to do is find antiquated DAT player to see if there are any remarkable out takes to put on YouTube. Just kidding -it was and is for a noble cause and I am proud to have served this important conservation.
JOHN OATES of the great duo of Hall and Oates moved to Aspen CO and became my neighbor and music compadre in our small mountain town. We met and gigged at Jamie Rosenbergs Great Divide Studio and jammed on stage at a couple of Charity Events at the St.Regis Hotel grand ballroom.