home listen a- z back next
Pat Buchanan

A Conversation with Pat Buchanan (continued)

PM: So then where did Cameo lead?

PB: Well, Cameo was in New York doing a video for their third single. And they were on tour, actually, so we were touring. Then we landed in New York, did a gig and stayed over and did a video for a song called "Back and Forth." And you know who was there? Miles Davis.

PM: Damn!

PB: He's on it, man.

PM: Oh, my God!

PB: It was incredible. He was just kind of hanging out doing a cameo on a Cameo video, no pun intended.

PM: Whoa. And so did you hang with him? Did you spend a little time?

PB: Yeah! I mean, I showed him how to play a bar chord.

PM: Get the f**k out of here!

PB: He said, "Man, my son is into this heavy metal shit. Those bar chords, man, what's that about?

PM: [laughs]

PB: Even then he--

PM: Oh, that's unbelievable! [laughs]

PB: And I can't believe that I put his index finger on the neck and showed him a chord. I mean, now it just blows my mind. Like the sax player, he was totally into being very polite to him and calling him Mr. Davis. And that lasted--about the second time he said, "My name is Miles, man."


PB: And we were eating catering and everything. And he went and said, "Hey, I'll be right back. Don't f**k with my plate, man."

PM: [laughs]

PB: And then looking in the mirror, he said, "Cicely got lucky, man, when she married me." And the rest of the time he was just hanging out being Miles. It was that kind of mid-'80s toot-toot man with a horn period--

PM: Right, right, right.

PB: --with Marcus Miller, and all that stuff. And I was aware of that. But now I've gone back and learned so much about Miles.

PM: Oh, man.

PB: But there he was. I mean, it totally blew my mind. But anyway, Sammy Merendino--the guy who programmed the drums, really a cutting-edge guy, and he really gave Cameo a huge part of their sound on those mid-'80s records--he said, "Hey, man, Hall & Oates is at the Hit Factory, and they're doing one song for this Japanese artist, Keyeski Kawata, and they want a wild Whammy Bar solo. So I called my wife, Dannie, who was a travel agent at the time. And I said, "I'm going to make up a story, and get you to fly me to the gig in Chicago the next day so I can stay and do this track."

PM: Amazing.

PB: So I made up a little white lie and said that I had to go home because my wife was ill--I had to go home to Atlanta, but I would fly to Chicago, and I'd have to miss the sound check, but I would be there for the gig. And I went down to the Hit Factory, and met Daryl and John and T-Bone. And Kawata was there. And it was like up on the third floor, where I ended up basically living the next few years playing with them, and then Cindy Lauper.

PM: No kidding.

PB: A tiny little studio, a little overdub studio on the third floor, standing in front of the board, like playing this solo to those guys.

PM: Holy jeez.

PB: Little did I know that it was kind of my audition for--

PM: A spot in the band.

PB: Yeah, for Hall & Oates.

PM: Right.

PB: But I still finished out the Cameo tour, and then they were planning on doing something again, and they called, and I had just gotten the Hall & Oates gig and just had to tell them.

PM: So in those days, what were Daryl and John like? Were they pretty cool guys?

PB: Yeah. They were cool, man. I mean, and T-Bone was always there. He was cool. Daryl, I mean, come to find out later, he was a little bit into his own thing, and kind of had a little bit of an ego thing happening.

PM: [laughs]

PB: John was always very, very down-to-earth, and very like he didn't want to be that way.

PM: Now, they were New York cats or Philly cats?

PB: Well, they were Philly cats, and then they ended up being--all their hits and stuff were when they moved to New York. And then they were based out of New York, and managed by Tommy Mottola.

PM: Ooh.

PB: But those cats--I mean, then I got my Philly education. And they were so into it. I mean, I sat up one night with Daryl, listening to 45s. Like stacks of 45s.

PM: That's a deep tradition.

PB: Like Philly and Motown, and everything. And I would go, "Hey, when did the Philly sound start to kind of define itself and like break away from the other more rough southern soul sound or the Motown Sound?" And he went, "Hmm," and scratched his chin for a minute, and dug and found this Stax record. It was probably an Isaac Hayes record, but it started to have the more sophisticated chords, and the string arrangements and stuff.

PM: Right.

PB: So I actually got the gig. I didn't really have to do a proper audition. That kind of became my audition. And I remember, during that record, jamming a lot, playing classic soul songs. And then we did that tour, we did dead-on arrangements of "For the Love of Money," "Love Train." The Philly thing was such a great musical tradition. And I've just gotten that box set, man, and just dug deep into that. And it's incredible, man.

PM: Oh, yeah.

PB: Those guys were writing in that building, and demoing with those guys.

PM: They were some great songwriters.

PB: They're incredible great songwriters right out of the box. And cats from Philly, they had their own music scene going. Some people didn't even acknowledge the Beatles.


PM: "What? They're like English guys."

PB: Yeah. "We already got our shit, and it's great." But yeah, that was kind of my Philly education. And also an education in playing with a pretty big-time band.

PM: Huge stadium band.

PB: They were huge. When they came off the road doing Big Bam Boom, they were a stadium act. And what was interesting is they took a couple years off, and then they did a contract with Arista. And I played on the record, which was the first album for Arista called Ooh, Yeah. And it had "Everything Your Heart Desires," and "Downtown Life," and a couple other--there were like two or three hits off of it. It probably sold a million, two million. It probably was considered a failure.

PM: Yeah, right. At the time, that was a failure for them.

PB: Compared to Big Bam Boom, or whatever. But it's interesting that the complexion of the music business could change that much in that little time, also.

PM: Right.

PB: And so it was like arenas and everything when we came in, and sheds when we went back out. It was still big, but it wasn't like--

PM: Stadiums.

PB: --stadiums. It was just crazy.

PM: But you played a zillion huge venues with them.

PB: Oh, yeah. And we did a couple stadiums, bills with Chicago and Rod Stewart and stuff. So I mean, that was kind of wild.

PM: So how many years did you do Hall & Oates?

PB: It was like probably a year, year and a half, close to two, all told, the album and the tour.

PM: Now where did Cindy Lauper come into the picture?

PB: Well, Cindy was around at the time in New York, at the Hit Factory and stuff. And it seemed like the road manager at the time with Hall & Oates called me up and said he wanted me do this one thing with Cindy. And it was a one-off, actually, for the movie Vibes.

PM: Ah, yeah.

PB: And Cindy was produced and kind of discovered and signed by Lennie Petze. Lenny Petze offered a band--I was in a deal--the same band, Homeward Angel that was like trying to get a deal back in south Georgia, North Florida, Atlanta days.

PM: Right.

PB: And here's Lennie Petze.

PM: Comes around again.

PB: Yeah, again. It was just wild. But anyway, we did a song called "Hole in My Heart That Goes All the Way to China."

PM: Huh. Who wrote that?

PB: Actually, that was written by a Memphis writer named Richard Orange.

PM: What a name.

PB: Yeah. And I've met a lot of cats who ended up here in Memphis who said, "Yeah, man, he was a great writer, and you should have heard the original version."

PM: Wow.

PB: Pretty wild.

PM: That's an amazing title.

PB: Yeah, it was a cool song.

PM: So you played on "Hole in My Heart."

PB: Yeah. And then that led to the next album and tour with Cindy.

PM: So did you meet Cindy at the time of the recording, or later?

PB: Actually, I was always commuting back and forth between Atlanta and New York at the time. And I just flew back up a day early and went right down to SIR downtown and just auditioned cold. And Cindy had this song, and she said, [feigning New York accent] "I want it trashy like the Clash. And Blondie."

PM: [laughs]

PB: So I said, "No problem." And I got up there and got in her face and was just like--well, she was performing, too, so that was kind of my audition, and I was like--at the time I was actually bound and determined to have as much fun and be myself and not really take any shit from anybody.

PM: Right. Good for you.

PB: As you can imagine there are a few things--

PM: A few factors in play.

PB: Yeah. Well, when you're a sideman, there can be a lot of political bullshit.

PM: Yeah.

PB: And you put up with it. And I just had this feeling like, "Well, not any more. I'm going to have some fun and be myself." So I just got right in her face and said, "Well, take this." [laughs]

PM: Yeah, right.

PB: Trashy like the Clash. It was great, because I knew what she meant. She just meant like good rambunctious power chords or something.

PM: Yeah. But slam it, yeah.

PB: I just probably took my Strat and put it all the way down. It probably was already, anyway.

PM: [laughs] Is she cool?

PB: She was totally cool.

PM: I've heard she's just a great chick.

PB: Oh, she was awesome. What a singer. And amazing talent.

PM: Fantastic.

PB: I can't even remember, now, Frank, but that actually led to--I was still touring with Hall & Oates, and I would call her and her road manager and her manager in New York from time to time and say, "Hey, man, when I get off this thing." And she said, "Yep." She was really cool. We did some recording. We did a bunch of touring in Japan. She was huge in Japan.

PM: Oh, yeah, right.

PB: So actually--oh yeah, well, we did the record, and I played on "I Drove All Night." And that was like number six on the Billboard Charts and stuff. We did Letterman. And it was interesting, because in Japan, pop music has only been in vogue over there, or even available over there, since the '60s, since like the Beatles. So they're just ape shit for it.

And Cindy was huge over there, so we would go over there and be full production at the Tokyo Dome, or three nights at the Buddakan. And we would only do a couple warm-up dates here, like the Stone Pony in Asbury Park.

PM: Sure, I know it well.

PB: Or Hammerjacks, which is a rock club in Maryland. And then off we'd go.

PM: Wow. Did you bump into the Hooters guys around this time, who wrote some good stuff with her, too?

PB: Yeah. Actually, we did a gig in Philly, and I met those guys, because there was a club that I think they might have been co-owners or something.

PM: Trocadero, or one of those--

PB: The Cabaret, or something--

PM: Yeah, yeah, The Cabaret, right.

PB: Yeah. So I got to meet--

PM: Rob Hyman and Eric Bazilian, they're amazing dudes.

PB: --Eric and Rob, just kind of like one time. I certainly sang all Rob's parts every night with Cindy.

PM: Ah, yeah.

PB: Because I would sing all the harmonies, and do "Time After Time."

PM: I mean, one of the greatest pop songs ever, I think.

PB: Oh, yeah. And I've got this great footage of us doing it in Tokyo somewhere doing "Time After Time." And it's so cool, man, because she's really a very cool chick, and she would just come right up to me and sing it on the same mike.

PM: She's a very open-hearted person.

PB: Yeah, and very secure within her own skin.

PM: Yeah.

PB: And with Hall & Oates, sometimes there was a little bit of up-staging that you had to be careful of.

PM: Somebody told me that her new record, she's like playing dulcimer on it.

PB: Yeah. She's fearless, man. And I've seen her play, but actually play, and it translates well to dulcimer, like playing "Time After Time" on dulcimer. But I mean, when it came time to hit, it was always full production, always great, and always just like, "Oh, my God," powerhouse. And she'd be up there messin' with you from the first song. It was great, I mean, just performing. So that was way cool. And I played on the record A Night To Remember.

PM: Did you do a lot of touring with her?

PB: Yeah, a fair amount of touring. It turned into like we were steady, going to Japan. That was the deal. And I did a bunch of touring with her, and then after that, some of my buddies--actually, the bass player who played with her, Kevin Jenkins, he actually got me on the Taylor Dayne tour, which was something I kind of went ahead and did. It wasn't as special as Cindy Lauper.

PM: I hear that.

PB: And that even turned into a Debbie Gibson tour, which was even less special.

PM: [laughs] Oh, you're killin' me.

PB: That was actually one occasion where I tried to price myself out of the gig.

PM: Did you play with Tiffany after that, or what?

PB: Oh, no, no, no, no. Actually, I don't put that one on the resume. But I mean, it's cool.

PM: It's all in a life.

PB: It certainly is. And I tried to price myself out of it, and they went with my price. And I was like, "Uh-oh. I've got to play now."

print (pdf)     listen to clips      puremusic home