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Interview with Mike Skill of The Romantics

By: Brandon Schneider

The Romantics are an American new wave rock ní roll band from Detroit, Michigan who got their start in 1980 with their eponymous debut album, and have been touring ever since with hit singles such as ďWhat I Like About YouĒ and ďTalking in Your Sleep.Ē Before the band played Red Hat Amphitheater this past weekend I interviewed guitar player, Mike Skill, about the origins of the group as well as clear up a few confusing aspects of the bandís timeline.

The first major question that I asked involved Skillís contributions to the band. He is credited with the guitar work on the debut album; however, the bass guitar has the majority of Skillís credit on the bandís most popular release In Heat, which was released a few years later. I wanted to know how he felt about playing a different instrument in the same band.

ďAll through high school I had switched over to bass because there weren't many bass players around and the band I was playing in needed one, and the summer after learning guitar, I learned most of all the bass parts on Sgt. Pepper, and Cream and all that kind of stuff.Ē

But he didnít have an ego about being placed differently back in the line-up. Skill was just happy to be back after taking a brief hiatus.

ďWell yeah, it was real easy for me to come in and play bass. Ego wise, I was glad to just get back to work. I was ready to get back. You know, maybe in the back of my mind, I let that play out.Ē

ďIím glad that the time off, the year and a half kind of settled me into a groove: more confidence and you know, back around family and friends. The time off was just actually, really good. And when I jumped back on in a year and a half, I had my feet off the ground. My feet were solid on the ground, coming back in. So actually, the other little ego crap dwindled away. The spites, and whatever. I had my head on straight I think, better when I came back in.Ē

After learning that bass was Skillís preferred instrument, I wondered why he would begin the group as the lead guitarist. This answer also lead to the origins of the bandís sound.

ď...when the band pulled together in Detroit later on, with all the simple straight ahead rock and roll that was going on New York like Blondie, it was real simple straight ahead. Real simple stuff. You know, it was inspiring because you had people trying to be Jimmy Page or Jeff Beck or whatever, but they were just trying to write songs or create emotions in music that didn't have much to do with proficiency in the instrument. It was more about the emotions and straight ahead rock and roll. And we were attracted to that. We wanted to be one of those more straight ahead rock bands.Ē

However, Skill returned to his original line-up position as the bandís lead guitarist in 2011.

Another interesting fact about the bandís history is that the hit single, ďWhat I Like About You,Ē wasnít nearly as popular until the rise of MTV.

ďThese guys called us up. I think this was before we recorded the second record, we were still on tour. We were on the west coast, and someone had called us a few weeks before and wanted to do a video, so these two cats came over from Holland, brought one camera, and we told them we wanted it to just be similar to A Hard Dayís Night kind of thing with our faces up close and real gritty kind of raw. And they filmed us up close and each one of us, and each one of us singing and edited it down and put it out in Holland. And the thing went around. It got picked up in other areas around there, so that gave it a kick over there.Ē

ď...somewhere along that time our managers came to us and said look, we have this tv commercial for Bud Light. Unbeknownst to us, not asking us if we would like to do it, not asking us if we would like the money, not asking us if we wanted to negotiate, they just said: ďhereís a commercial, want to do it?ĒĒ

The band never expected such success.

ďSo ďWhat I Like about YouĒ went onto MTV. Thatís how it happened. It was really organic kinda. It kinda happened just without any push trying to make it happen, or the record label trying to make it happen. It took off and the video went around Europe and Australia and then itís getting in movies and itís getting in tv commercials, and younger kids each time are picking up on it. And itís been that way ever since.Ē

Skill told me a lot about how much of a different experience being a musician is today.

ďAs far as the recording thing, yeah, I think the labels get hurt. They want all of the pie, instead of, and they got all of the pie instead of in my opinion, and most musicians and songwriters opinions, we should have been making more of the pie. I think their greed kind of got them, whatever you want to call it, greed or not. I think itís come back to bite them.Ē

The amount of royalties that songwriters make has been a huge topic of controversy in the music industry. I wanted to see how Skill felt about streaming music with applications such as Spotify.

ďYeah, well I think itís just another way to hear the music. But I do think there is a debate about how much we are getting for someone taking our money.Ē

ďIím not going to go run into the street about it, but I donít think itís fair. For those who want to give away their music free, and I think everybody should be able to get something for what they do, a fair price. But besides all that, we are still doing a lot of live shows, so we are in a different boat. Unlike some of the bands that are just coming up now, we can go out and play the whole summer, we can play from May to Sept/October, and we could do well with that. Live off of that with some other royalties coming in. So itís a different boat.Ē

I also wondered if Skill listened to any new music that had been coming out recently.

ďKeith Richards has been coming out with some pretty good stuff, I like that. Black Keys of course. I heard these guys, Ghostland Observatory. I think thatís a pretty creative thing, what they are doing. Mostly traditional stuff, but if it's got some rock and roll/blues kind of stuff then Iíll listen to it, or some kind of psychedelia.Ē

I asked if we could expect any new releases from the band in the future.

ďWe released a single from it over the holidays, with a holiday song.Ē

ďAnd the record comes out in the next few weeks here. We just finished mastering it.Ē

Skill said ďWE finished mastering itĒ so I was curious to know if the band had any contribution to the production themselves.

ďItís a funky studio [Boulevard recording] , but I did all the back tracks here at home in my studio. So Iíve been in the production end of it, Iíve been in the recording end of it, and then we worked with a guy Adrian Bradford producing, and Russell Ayers, a bunch of different people and just finished up production.Ē

Finally, I told Skill good luck with his show at Red Hat Amphitheater and on the rest of the tour.

ď...we finished up last year with Rick Springfield. We were out with him a little bit of July and August and September. And they said they wanted us back and we wanted to come back, so we got more dates this year and itís been really good. And Iím sure he heard us through Australia radio, and we had some success there. And itís great, we have fun with those guys. Itís a great tour right now. Weíve been off and on with Smithereens and our own stuff. Itís a good show.Ē

Be sure not to miss The Romantics with Rick Springfield and Night Ranger at Red Hat Amphitheater on August 25th at 7:00pm.

(see below for the full transcript)

Transcript:

Hello Mike Skill

Hey hows it going this is Brandon Schneider from RaleighMusic.com How are you?

Iím doing pretty good, getting going here.

Ok, I was just wondering if I could ask you a few questions?

Yeah go ahead man.

Alright so you guys are playing the Red Hat Amphitheater on August 25th, correct?

Yeah it is.

So, I just had a few questions. So, my first question, you are on lead guitar right now right?

Yeah rhythm and lead, yes.

Ok, so I was looking on some...Iím sort of confused because you it says here that you have lead guitar credits on your debut album, but you came back on ďIn HeatĒ on bass guitar. So, can you tell me a little bit about that?

Yeah, well i started on guitar first as a kid, and taught myself guitar. I set it aside about for about a year or so and went to junior high school and that spring got out of school, my first year of junior high and taught myself guitar that summer and then started joining bands. All through high school I had switched over to bass because there weren't many bass players around and the band I was playing in needed one, and the summer after learning guitar, I learned most of all the bass parts on Sgt. Pepper, and Cream and all that kind of stuff. And taught myself how to play bass properly so all through high school I was pretty much playing bass, but still playing guitar at the same time. But when the band pulled together in Detroit later on, with all the simple straight ahead rock and roll that was going on New York like Blondie, it was real simple straight ahead. Real simple stuff. You know, it was inspiring because you had people trying to be Jimmy Page or Jeff Beck or whatever, but they were just trying to write songs or create emotions in music that didn't have much to do with proficiency in the instrument. It was more about the emotions and straight ahead rock and roll. And we were attracted to that. We wanted to be one of those more straight ahead rock bands. Early Bob Seger? So when we formed the group, I was thinking in terms of the Flaminí Groovies album ďShake Some ActionĒ and the Jam had just come out, and a lot of punk stuff was coming out, I had seen the Groovies record in the newspaper articles and we had been working as players together in high school and I showed him that this is what we could do, so we put the group together like that kind of look and that whole vibe, The Kinks in mind,and as we from the group, I was writing songs and playing guitar and Wally brought along Rich carl as the bass player, and it hard to find other guitar players that wanted to do the simple rock and roll thing. So we asked a few guys and they said no, so I stuck on guitar and went from there. First record came out, second record came out, I was on guitar, Wally played rhythm, I played rhythm and lead, and we had some creative difficulties due to the record label. We did the first album and within the year we went into the studio to do the second album, because it was going right up the charts, ďWhen I Look Into Your Eyes,Ē ďTell It To Carrie,Ē and ďWhat I Like About You.Ē They went up the charts for about a while, one actually went up to about 49 and started dropping. They started talking about a new record, and we had just spent four years building what we built with songs that we had, you know 15 or 20 songs, pick the best 11 songs and put those on the record, then we had to jump back in the studio and do another record. Only 3 months, or 6 months time so, it was just a lot of stuff at once after the first record, and plus the creative difficulties. Then I was out for a year and a half, while the band brought in another guy and they put out ďStrictly Personal,Ē which I had nothing to do with, and it didnít really do anything, the sound kind of changed; the drummer pushed for a heavier sound like Cheap Trick and it didnít really feel like The Romantics groove. It didnít really take off and after some time they called me back up to come in and write and rejoin and when I rejoined, that guitar player stayed and I played bass, because I had done that in high school. I did some guitar and I still wrote and still got credit. You know I had another group that I had put together but it wasnít taking off yet, we just started. But then we hit the road, I contributed a few songs. We sort of switched off, I contributed some guitar and bass to the record In Heat, but I was the main writer. I brought the main energy and vibe to writing. Because mainly it was me and Wally writing on the first two records and then it was the drummer pushing a certain agenda after that. And I came back in and it was more back to the cleaner pop song, and that was about it. I did that up until about 2011, and then there were some other disputes going on coming from a business manager and the guitar player and then they put me back on guitar because it was time. In 2011 I was back on guitar again. And itís been good. Iím much more confident and much more securely playing and writing and everything. Itís a fun thing. Itís good.

That makes a lot more sense now because I didnít know that bass was your first instrument. But you said you had writing credits on the debut album, so wasnít that weird coming back playing bass on songs that you wrote on guitar?

Well yeah, it was real easy for me to come in and play bass. Ego wise, I was glad to just get back to work. I was ready to get back. You know, maybe in the back of my mind, I let that play out. I just figured, go ahead and work and write some songs and put out In Heat, which I made a lot of contributions to that, playing some guitar and bass and writing mainly. The writing is what they wanted. And it kicked back up the charts at #2 with the single Talking In Your Sleep. And thatís an idea that I had on time off. The thing about it is, we were traveling a lot back and forth when the band first started back in Detroit. So, we would go out of town and then come back and the crowds would get bigger in Detroit. And then we would go out of town and back, and it would just become a hotter scene. And we were putting out our own records and we would go to New York and things would start to jive there, things would start to percolate there,, you know, getting some notice, Boston, Toronto, Philly, and you know, in your head, you get a lot of attention sometimes when it gets to a particular point, I couldnít tell who was honest and who wasnít honest about if it was really good or are you just telling me that? Thatís the way I was, a straight ahead simple player, and so that kind of head-trippy kind of stuff was happening. And Iím glad that the time off, the year and a half kind of settled me into a groove: more confidence and you know, back around family and friends. The time off was just actually, really good. And when I jumped back on in a year and a half, I had my feet off the ground. My feet were solid on the ground, coming back in. So actually, the other little ego crap dwindled away. The spites, and whatever. I had my head on straight I think, better when I came back in. Itís just that things were happening kinda fast after a while, and itís something youíve never experienced before. You know, two records out, playing around the world. Playing Australia, and were doing this second record, the first one had just come out a year and a half before, and weíre playing shows in Australia, and we are playing mostly the second record. So it was really kind of crazy. In my opinion now, looking back, probably off to Europe, instead of recording a new record we should have been off to Europe playing the first record instead of touring Australia on the second record. We should have been promoting the first album in Europe. We never conquered Europe. We played here and there; Japan, and Australia, France Germany all that, but the management didnít really want to spend too much money touring in Europe. So thatís how that worked out and that created tension just doing that new record and I think thatís where the creative conflicts came in.

ďWhat I Like About YouĒ charted at #2 in Australia, the highest of any country. Why do you think that is?

Yeah, Australia it went up to #2. First of all, they have a really, Iím sure they still have, I mean itís been awhile since Iíve been there, but they had a really big radio and videos, and the bands were really good, the production, the groups. You know, you have so many groups coming out of there, really great production, I mean. It was kind of a vibe of English music meets American rock. Really good choruses, really good well-produced and well-written songs, but the reason why is when ďWhat I Like About YouĒ came out, it started falling off the charts, coming down, right? #49. We get a call from people in Holland that itís on the charts, itís moving up the charts, which is why we should have been touring Europe. We should have been kicking ass in France, Belgium, whatever. All the Netherlands, all that stuff. So it went right up the charts. These guys called us up. I think this was before we recorded the second record, we were still on tour. We were on the west coast, and someone had called us a few weeks before and wanted to do a video, so these two cats came over from Holland, brought one camera, and we told them we wanted it to just be similar to A Hard Dayís Night kind of thing with our faces up close and real gritty kind of raw. And they filmed us up close and each one of us, and each one of us singing and edited it down and put it out in Holland. And the thing went around. It got picked up in other areas around there, so that gave it a kick over there. And letís see, we must have recorded the second record within the next year and then the next thing you know, somewhere along that time our managers came to us and said look, we have this tv commercial for Bud Light. Unbeknownst to us, not asking us if we would like to do it, not asking us if we would like the money, not asking us if we wanted to negotiate, they just said: ďhereís a commercial, want to do it?Ē And of course we werenít gonna turn it down, because being a band influenced by 60ís groups like The Who and Yardbirds, they were doing tv commercials in Britain for perfume and cereal and milkshakes and whatever. We wanted to be part of the pop culture and we got that and it came out and it gave us another boost. It had been off the charts already and about some time within the year, MTV starts up around Ď81. So thatís when we recorded the second record. So ďWhat I Like about YouĒ went onto MTV. Thatís how it happened. It was really organic kinda. It kinda happened just without any push trying to make it happen, or the record label trying to make it happen. It took off and the video went around Europe and Australia and then itís getting in movies and itís getting in tv commercials, and younger kids each time are picking up on it. And itís been that way ever since. Itís just something that kind of took off on its own. Itís not something we could even imagine. If we wanted it to happen that way, it wouldnít have happened that way. Itís just a perfect storm.

MTV definitely a different scene now than when it first started so that was definitely a great time to get the video out there. So since we are talking about things being different than they were back then, since you guys are touring again, what is the biggest change? Because I know a lot of musicians these days complain about everyone using cellphones and recording. Is there anything that you notice the most of that bothers you specifically now more than when you first started touring?

Well yeah. First of all, when we first started up, when the first record came out and before, we were picking up shows with Cheap Trick and a bunch of other groups that were coming up at the same time. The Ramones, we were out with them on tour for about three or four weeks, east coast. There were Cheap Trick tours and early days of Ted Nugent. I mean we were on the same booking agency so they had a few shows, you could just jump on these tours, thatís the biggest difference. Nowadays, itís taken a long time for certain groups or certain acts to come together and do, three or four bands together playing, like we were doing stuff with Smithereens, and these bands coming together and doing shows that we had wanted to do for quite a while, but that had finally come together. As far as the recording thing, yeah, I think the labels get hurt. They want all of the pie, instead of, and they got all of the pie instead of in my opinion, and most musicians and songwriters opinions, we should have been making more of the pie. I think their greed kind of got them, whatever you want to call it, greed or not. I think itís come back to bite them. And actually right now Sony is going after more songwriters. They want to take more royalties up front. Thereís a whole thing going on right now, and itís not being talked about. Itís kind of being slipped underneath the door. But yeah, the main thing for me is really, we work our ass off for everything now. At that time, when I was growing up, the only way to getting into, we wanted to be in the recording studio. We had our heroes: Brian Wilson, Phil Spector, all that stuff, we grew up reading about, and George Martin with the Beatles, all these guys. And the only way you could get in the studio back then was to be signed by a record label or have someone backing you. Studios were $300-$400 an hour. Just to do it was thousands of dollars compared to today. And the thing was, you write songs, get out there and try to get noticed and try to get a record deal. So we did that and we actually got a great deal. Matt Wise from Knuckle records who signed us eventually, itís a custom or independent label, whatever you want to call it on CBS records. So he gave us a great deal, we got everything, we just had a problem with management taking stuff. I mean back then, you are making 11 cents an album. And our major label was taking more, now looking back on it, you know, writers should be making at least 50%, but it was more in the low double digits. Thatís just the way it was and now, someone comes along, invents the iPad and without licensing, you are supposed to set up licensing deals to use your music, and they start charging $1.99 or whatever it is, and the problem I had with that is they didnít consult with anybody, I mean whether it was record companies or bands or musicians, it was just set as the price point without any kind of mediation or conference.You know, Steve Jobs set it up with his own rating. And you know, so you can get spotty but I donít run around thinking about it and making a big deal about it and the thing is, we have songs out, we are lucky enough to have two top forty songs, and now pretty much five or six songs get played on a lot of radio. So, we can make a bit of a living because we are over the hump with two songs. When youíve got two songs people can know your name somehow: The Romantics. So yeah Iím not in a big fight about it. It could have been better for everybody. Hopefully something in the near future can change that and everyone can make a better living because thereís a lot of writers out there that are making it but, you know. I actually went to Washington, I was asked to go to Washington congress in about circa 2008 to uh, twenty of us, twenty songwriters from around the country were picked, and we went to Washington to support songwriters so that we were assured to get our profit, our royalties. Because with digital music now, we were concerned it was going to slip away because movie companies were trying to not pay songwriters, not pay royalties to the songs in movies because it was all digital. It was in the air, it wasnít on something that you could hold.

Speaking of royalties, streaming music is a big thing nowadays with Spotify and Pandora, and I know there has been a lot of controversy of that particular form of media with, like you said, people getting paid as much as they should. Do you have any negative bias towards streaming on these applications?

Yeah, well I think itís just another way to hear the music. But I do think there is a debate about how much we are getting for someone taking our money. Over a million plays makes you like $20 or something. I think to make a living, you need to get paid more. You should be getting paid for it. I mean itís unfair how someone can set up aÖ, actually the best way is to have a commonwealth or a group, or co-op or musicians come together, say 200 musicians or whatever and set up their own service. And do it, not like the way some have been set up by some artists, which Iím not going to get into, but set it up with songs and do a fair price and we pay for our own admin for it and pay ourselves, right? Thatís probably the ideal thing to do. You know, but you got other people setting it up, and you got them setting up the rules without talking to you or without conversing or any kind of representation and they are making the bulk of the funds. I donít think itís fair. Iím not going to go run into the street about it, but I donít think itís fair. For those who want to give away their music free, and I think everybody should be able to get something for what they do, a fair price. But besides all that, we are still doing a lot of live shows, so we are in a different boat. Unlike some of the bands that are just coming up now, we can go out and play the whole summer, we can play from May to Sept/October, and we could do well with that. Live off of that with some other royalties coming in. So itís a different boat.

Do you listen to any of these new/upcoming bands?

Yeah, you know Iím still on John Lee Hooker , and a lot of blues guys, I still love that. I mean, to me, itís kind of a scratch. I mean when I listen to John Lee Hooker, heís creating a beat, sometimes only with his foot on a board on the floor with a droning guitar, thatís not far stretch. All these guys from the Ď50s and Ď60s, they were just creating a groove any way they could using the strings of the guitar or piano or their foot on a board, you know you would record it and his foot would be going and he would be strumming the guitar and it would be droning. It wasnít necessarily a well written straight piece and it would repeat the same verse over and over but it was the way he wrote the parts. And then he was writing about things that affected him, physically and emotionally, being in the city, being in a bar, whatever. Thatís not much a stretch from Snoop Dogg and all those guys. I mean itís a beat, and, well, itís a different groove, but itís not a far stretch from blues. And you know, Keith Richards has been coming out with some pretty good stuff, I like that. Black Keys of course. I heard these guys, Ghostland Observatory. I think thatís a pretty creative thing, what they are doing. Mostly traditional stuff, but if it's got some rock and roll/blues kind of stuff then Iíll listen to it, or some kind of psychedelia. Yeah and we got to chat with Jack White since heís from Detroit. I mean, I donít like everything he does, but you know heís got some really great stuff. Thereís some groups coming out of Detroit, so thereís still some good stuff happening.

So you seem to like a lot of older blues records?

Yeah 60ís blues, 60ís psychedelic, rock, soul.

So how did you go from listening to that kind of music, to writing music for The Romantics?

Well, like I said before, we came up listening to AM radio in the 60ís, right around there. My brother had a bunch of Elvis records when I was a little kid. We would pull the 45ís out and scratch them and play them. But we wanted to get back to a simpler thing because a lot of bands when we were coming up, they were still playing these songs on the radio over and over again. The same twenty songs: Led Zeppelin, Styx, Steely Dan, Eagles, over and over. So we were gravitating towards, we had MC5 and early Bob Seger was really good, and the Stooges. A lot of bands like Yes came out and were doing these guitar solos for twenty minutes, drum solos for twenty minutes and keyboard solos for twenty minutes and albums that were four songs on an album. And it was like ďcome onĒ with the whole scene that was happening in New York and Sex Pistols and everything and out of England, and there was an L.A. punk scene happening. We wanted to get back to straight ahead stuff more influenced by the early rock and rollers. And the radio used to play songs that were three minutes long. We didnít want songs over, say, 3 minutes. Actually most records were 2:45. So thatís one part of it. More like an Eddie Cochran song, or a Beatles song, or a Rolling Stones song. And I think we zeroed in on the Kinks. We really liked the Kinks a lot. We actually got to tour with them in the 80ís. We toured for about a month with them. But thatís all it was: to spring back to that one song that lasted on three minutes. And a melody and kind of something in between Chuck Berry and the Beatles. Something with a back beat and you could stand there and listen and enjoy it or you could dance if you wanted to. So back then it was just, you bounced up and down. But yeah, thatís pretty much it. Just to really get back to simplicity. If you can come up with a song, basically three chords, a verse and a chorus, youíre doing pretty good. And it stands as something different, something inspired. Like ďWhat I Like About You.Ē Itís three chords, and three in the middle break. That was our intent. It wasnít necessarily about dancing, but more about the backbeat of Ringo or Elvis. I mean listen to Eddie Cochran, just a few chords. So thereís a whole history of straight ahead music. I mean, even when I was coming up, the best music wasnít always in the top of the charts. The best music was at the bottom. So itís something you had to search for, itís always been that way, and itís always gonna be that way. People will pick up on the stuff that can sell the most or whatever they want to sell on the the radio. Stuff that will get to the most people. Itís always going to be that way. ITís about selling. And you know, itís up to us to get the crowds, to get the people but then also come from the side and say check this out, you know, this angle. Another way to look at it. So yeah, itís interesting. Itís been fun.

So, are you guys planning on writing anything new, or is it just touring from here on out?

Yeah, well weíve got two new songs on the new record. The new record came out, itís a bunch of covers. A lady, her dad owned Hotel records, a company who used tv late at night, to promote records. They were compilation albums, they had 10, 12 songs on them. If you couldnít afford to buy the album, or all the 45ís, you could buy the album and it would have all the songs on it. The daughter has taken over the company. She came to us and wanted us to do a record. She threw some songs at us, and we said yes to some and no to others. They were songs we basically grew up hearing, and they arenít that far out. We agreed on eight or ten songs and we threw in a few originals. So thatís what we did. We worked on a couple of new songs and recorded those and added those to the mix. So we got eight/ten songs. We will probably get back in the studio once we are done touring. We will regroup in the fall or something soon and start writing for something, a new record. We released a single from it over the holidays, with a holiday song. And we contributed a song from Eric Burdon and another song called Daydream Believer. And the record comes out in the next few weeks here. We just finished mastering it.

Does the band contribute to the production on the records?

Yeah. I have a studio here in Oregon, we have a rehearsal and recording studio in Detroit. And we recorded records in various places in L.A. to do the back tracks. We recorded those in L.A. at Boulevard recording on Hollywood Boulevard, which is an old studio, been there forever. Since the 50ís and 60ís. Theyíve done a lot of movie themes there, and bands like the Standells, and the guys from Pink Floyd recorded parts of The Wall there. Itís a funky studio, but I did all the back tracks here at home in my studio. So Iíve been in the production end of it, Iíve been in the recording end of it, and then we worked with a guy Adrian Bradford producing, and Russell Ayers, a bunch of different people and just finished up production. Yeah itís good, weíve got other projects coming up so we will see how it goes. But right now itís good. The shows have been sounding good. Weíve got the original three guys up front, Rich Wally and Me, and weíve got Brad on drums. So come see him on drums. If you donít enjoy anything else, youíll enjoy him playing drums.

Well, Red Hat Amphitheater is a fantastic venue, Iíll think youíll enjoy it.

Well yeah we finished up last year with Rick Springfield. We were out with him a little bit of July and August and September. And they said they wanted us back and we wanted to come back, so we got more dates this year and itís been really good. And Iím sure he heard us through Australia radio, and we had some success there. And itís great, we have fun with those guys. Itís a great tour right now. Weíve been off and on with Smithereens and our own stuff. Itís a good show.



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