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One More Time for the Gipper

   In October of 1980, the band reformed. Floyd and I returned and started rehearsing with Danny, Chuck, Cory and Jimmy, while auditioning new bass players. Danny was totally finished with drugs, including a 2 pack a day cigarette habit by 1978 and would never slip back into it again. It was a joy to work with him as a healthy human being. After auditions, the bass player of choice was Mike Seifret. Mike was a fine player, a great guy, easy to work with and would be with the group for about a year and a half. Richard Grossman took over the bass player slot around the middle of 1982.



Richard Grossman: A fun guy and talented bass player. Besides the musical fun we had together Rich left me with one lasting bit of updating to my vocabulary. He made reference one day to "Goyam." Being of white-anglo-protestant background I had to ask him what that meant. He said it was a Yiddish term that refers to "all the rest of you guys" that aren't Jewish. I DID NOT KNOW THAT! You'd think a practicing heathen such as I would know these things. In Hollywood, it's good to be up to speed in this area, which I'm sure Whoopi Goldberg would attest to.



The following subject matter is my own unconfirmed speculation, that I offer for your consideration.

In 1981 we had begun touring again, albeit in smaller venues. When shopping for a major record label, a brutal fact emerged: We had apparently burned some bridges in the recording industry and had "fallen out of grace." I am referring to the group's reputation that had changed from one of totally dependable, dedicated creative professionals, to one of being a "risky business venture," on the road and in the studio. Drug issues, road burnout, too much success too soon, would all fit the problematic perception that may have existed. I don't know exactly what the last few weeks of 3DN were like in 1976, but it's possible for word of "the end of things" to spread quickly throughout the music business community. The quick demise of S.S. Fools certainly didn't leave a sweet taste in the mouths of Columbia Records executives. Chuck's, Danny's and Jimmy's conditions were becoming common knowledge in music circles, although the drug lifestyle came to an end in 1978 for Danny. Cory had cut a couple of albums. The "Touch Me" album, on A&M Records really sold well, but not enough to launch a solo career. Joe Schermie, was carving a path pursuing record projects funded by record companies and/or private investors. Studio owners and audio engineers often cut deals involving compensation in lieu of recording time. The party factor was highly prominent in "Cho's" approach (Sneed and I called him "Cho Charmie" spoken with a Mexican accent.) , and he always generated that "on-going" ambience. Not only when you were just talking with him, but when we were playing music together. Those that he worked with over the years know of what I speak. (Let me add that there are many songs "in the can" from these projects that were / are absolutely brilliant, and great musically). Doing many, many projects over the remaining years, Joe had yet to find "success" again, and there were some involvements with unhappy investors, studio schedules and budgets not being met. I was told that he once hit a record exec with his fist and knocked him on his ass because he was gay and had patted Joe on his butt as he walked by. Not good. One of those, "You'll never work in this town again" type of a thangs? Not that any one guy in Hollywood has that kind of power, but the perception of Joe in the music business world was not improving.

And so in these times there is a great possibility that music industry executives had a growing, negative perception of 3DN members, and it may have been a "stumbling block" when we reformed in October of 1980. Another simple fact is that, sometimes the public can just get tired of you. It can be as simple as that. Or maybe we were just "too toast."

Since then, the American public has taken us back into their hearts and the smiling faces I see at our shows now are absolutely inspiring and wonderful. As a matter of fact ... I AM one of those smiling faces. 




   I'd like to make mention of our road manager, John Meglen, who became a good friend. John was one of those few young men who was naturally brilliant, had loads of charisma, and was capable of using his personal initiative when needed. On August 18th, 1981 we were in Fitzburg, Massachusetts and it was John's birthday. He had been showering and primping and cleaning up for a date with a lady friend at a restaurant on the Charles river in Boston. Let's just say that he had a big evening planned. When John was just getting ready to leave for the date I had Rick Davis (road crew) knock on his door and ask him to come down the hall because Steve Bristow (road crew) had broke his ankle and needed a doctor. Steve was positioned on the concrete walkway holding his leg. I was waiting beside him, but out of view around the corner. The ploy was to get him to bend over just as he reached the corner. A choreographer couldn't have planned it any better. Seeing Steve as he got to the corner, he bent over to see what was wrong, and ...



Aug 18, 1981: Me, John Meglen and Rick Davis.

    It was perfect. As he bent over I took one step out from behind the corner and came up from underneath with the cream pie. In case you're wondering, no he didn't immediately react with laughter. In fact, I distinctly remember, with his face still in the pie, his ears moved back about a half inch as he gritted his teeth in anger and surprise. This passed very quickly and resulted in the laughing face you see above. It was close, though. The thought of killing the guilty party was definitely in his mind for a split second. Happy Birthday, John. He told me that, even though he quickly washed off his face and hurried to his date, he smelled like soured cream the rest of the entire evening. I have more road stories about John, but they will stay in the vault because he has stories on me, too.




   Our record catalogue was now with MCA records and in 1982 they released an album, "The Best of Three Dog Night. This album has continued to be a big seller over the years. It is now available in CD format.


   In 1982, we went into the studio with Bill Cooper and Richie Podolor to record an EP (extended play) record that would only have 5 songs on it. I still feel very strongly about three of those songs. Particularly, "Livin' it Up," "It's a Jungle Out There" and "Shot In The Dark." We even did a couple of videos.

I strongly suspect that if we had a major label handling the distribution, we may have had a hit. Sounds like sour grapes, but not really. We ended up with an independent label called, "Passport" and the record never took off. "It's A Jungle" is a fine album that I am proud of.

   During 1981 - 1985, it became evident that Chuck was still "a mess" and just couldn't shake his drug problems, at least not yet. Jimmy was also in "deeper sh_t" than I realized. I was unaware of it because I wasn't in the loop concerning the heroin problems. Jimmy would soon hit the wall, then once and for always, put it behind him. Something very few are successful at doing. He did it, thank God, and never looked back. It would be a few more years before Chuck "hit his wall," and found the strength to put it all behind him. Both of them are very, very lucky to have made it. I say lucky, but in reality it took major strength and willpower to win that battle. In the business they call it, "The Big One." It's usually a dead-end street, no pun intended. I'm so thankful that both of them are healthy and alive today.

   In 1982, I was a single parent who was enjoying a 2 weeks on / 2 weeks off, joint custody arrangement with my son. Due to this situation, it became necessary for me to have a talk with Cory about having to leave the band because I needed and wanted to raise my son. To my surprise, he suggested that I consider touring with the band for just two weeks at a time. I was so appreciative and happy that this arrangement was offered to me. Being a parent himself, he understood and even said he admired me for the decision. Although I was getting some help from my future ex-wife when there was a major overlap in touring/custody periods, it was a decision that I made out of love for my son. I have no regrets.

  Richard Grossman had a roommate that was a killer guitar player, named Paul Kingery. He auditioned for, and got the gig, "subbing" for me, when I was home being a full-time parent. One day, Paul came by my place so we could go over my guitar parts. This is the one and only time I have ever sat down and shown another player exactly how to play my parts. Wisely, Paul had a cassette player going that day. Over the years, Paul has thrown it up to me saying, "Ah, ah, ah! Careful now, I've still got that tape." An ongoing threat/joke between us. Here's a picture of Paul doubling for me on the road during that period.

I say "doubling for me," but that's my term, not his. A friendly term of irritation I bestow upon his talented self . Not only is he a killer guitar player with chops of doom, but a great singer and father of two terrific sons, as well.



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