web_site_logo.gif (4948 bytes)

This Issue: Bill Bateman on his return to the Blasters. Dave Gonzalez interviewed about the new Hacienda Brothers CD, and James Intveld on his new record 'Have Faith.'

Bill Bateman Returns Home To The Blasters

When spring of '06 came, I was hired by the Dave Alvin band.  We were getting ready to do rehearsals because he had gigs the rest of the year. At that point, Ivy from the Cramps called me and said: "We have an August tour in Europe coming." I said: "Okay" and called Dave to tell him I couldn't do any gigs with Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men in August because of the Cramps tour. I asked if we could work around it, but he said "Nope. I have to hire another guy." So I got fired and he hired Steve Mugalian. I did the Cramps tour of Europe and finished up the last gig in London. While we were standing in the airport waiting to go home, our roadie started talking about Harry Drumdini and how he had cleaned up, and was out of rehab, and was flying right again. I saw Lux's and Ivy's ears perk up. The next day, I got a call from Ivy. She said they were gonna re-hire Harry because they love him so much, and she misses him. She said he was clean and sober and they want to hire him back. She said: "There are no hard feelings. It's nothing to do with you, Bill. He's like my little brother, and I gotta have him back." So, I got fired. Maybe I didn't fit in.
Then a week later, Chopper (Steve Franklin) got fired and they didn't give him a reason. They just sent his stuff home in a box with a letter that said: "Thanks for the good times. Better luck in the future and we'll see you around." He was the bass player for about 6 years. I thought they owed him a little more of an explanation. He was upset because at least I got a talking to, but he didn't.
So I haven't heard from Lux and Ivy since then, and I haven't even heard about them doing anything. I did see Harry; he was drunk and had to go back to rehab.
I liked playing with them, but it's over now. It was fun while it lasted. After that, I was playing sometimes with Rumble King. They're great guys. They would do a gig once or twice a month. All through 2005 -2007, I was working as a carpenter.
Then there was the Gene Taylor Blues Band in December of 2007 - which was a lot of fun. That might happen again.
AM: What happened to the Bill Batemen documentary that was shot at the King King?
BB: I don't know? I barely talk to King King owner, Mario anymore. When I do, he mentions that it's the next thing he has to do. I say: "Okay, give me a call." But then I never hear from him. It's on the back burner. It's in the back, waiting to get to the back burner (laughs).
He fired (director) Steve Olsen because he was too busy and planned to hire another director.  The cameramen were supposed to be professional, but it turned out they weren't focused right. Mario was pissed and feels he has to re-shoot some of it. So he was so overwhelmed that he had to put it on the backburner.
AM: What is the status of the Blue Shadows?
BB: Big Jake (Javier Matos) has moved to Minneapolis and settled down -  so any future tours would have to be planned with precision. If we had management and a booking agency, we could just hook up on the road and do a tour. It might just happen eventually. Jake keeps writing songs and they keep getting better. We recorded our finest song this year at my house with Chopper's recording studio and it's the most rockin' thing we've ever done. We have music, but no one gets to hear it.
Chopper moved in with me and has a Pro Tools studio in the house. He's real good with it. Whenever Jake comes to visit, we record songs. So the idea of having that band has not died. It's out there - it's just 2,500 miles from being convenient
AM: Are you still making drums for sale through the Bateman drum company?
BB: Yes, I've made 8 sets, but I just can't part with them. I have a customer in Finland who has to have a Bateman drum set at whatever cost. The drums are worth more than money to me. I don't really like to let them out of my possession.
AM: Will we see any of those sets on Blasters tours?
BB: No. On the Blasters tour, I brought the oldest set I own: an old Slingerland set I bought in a pawn shop in 1968. I still own that set. I don't know how I've been able to hold onto it all these years, but it's still in good shape. That's what I'm playing with the Blasters. It has the same Blasters logo that I painted on the skin in 1980.
I remember It was a hot July night in 1980 when the Blasters played the Club 88 with Gun Club and X and I cut myself real bad - I almost died. That was the set I was playing. Somebody took a picture of the drum set in the back room after the show. The white marine pearl drums looked red because there was so much blood on them.

I still have the photo. I cleaned 'em up since. If I was bleeding now, playing with bones for drumsticks, and wearing makeup - I'd probably still be in the Cramps now (laughs).
AM: What do you see for the future of the Blasters?
BB: I think another Blasters record and some more touring and try to run the Blasters business tighter. We need a new kick-start. A record would do that. It would be bitchin' if Dave would write some new songs for his brother. And what if Dave Alvin produced it? It would take something along those lines to get things going. Maybe I'll get Dave Alvin back in the band (laughs). It was always my job to get the guitar players anyway. I got Dave in the first place, then Fats, and when he died, I convinced Billy Zoom and then I got Hormel. Then I was out of the band.   So we'll just have to see what happens.   --AM

The Hacienda Brothers: Arizona Motel

Dave Gonzalez of the Hacienda Brothers is currently on tour supporting the Hacienda Brothers' new release titled Arizona Motel.  The tour is also a tribute to his fallen Brother and musical partner Chris Gaffney who passed away in April of this year.  The CD was just released on June 24, 2008. Bros. guitarist and songwriter Dave Gonzalez is interviewed by American Music about the new album:               By Billy Davis

like that, too. He likes to spend time to find the right groove, the right tempo, and the right key.
     In January 2008, Gaff, Hank Maninger (Hacienda Brothers bass player), and I went back to Tucson to do some last overdubs. Incidentally, Hank was sick and could hardly sing, so Gaff wound up doing all the high harmony parts on the songs - and he kicked butt - that was only a couple of weeks before they diagnosed him. (ed. note - Gaff was diagnosed in February 2008 with liver cancer) He was incredible. Like the old boxer he was, Gaff just stayed in the ring until the very end and didn't get knocked out.
     In February, while Gaff was sick we were speaking to him about the mixes. We told him we would hold off putting the record out until he got better and would make his big comeback, but he said: "No, I think you better put it out right now."

The Songs

A LOT OF DAYS ARE GONE - Jeb Schoonover (Hacienda Bros. manager) has a great knowledge of music. I would bring songs to him, and he would give a little idea and more times than not Jeb would be right there. It's good to have someone to bounce ideas off of. I would turn demos into Jeb and he would figure out which we should focus on; then we would talk to Gaff about it. Both Jeb and Gaff were good at fixing little parts on songs that were already well on their way.
I wrote that song while I was waterskiing in Northern CA. I was a water skier all my life. That summer, my back was giving me problems, but I finally got up on the skis, and I grabbed the ski rope, and I said: "Man, a lot of days are gone and I'm still holding on." I came up with the verses right there out on the water. A few weeks later, I showed it to Jeb, and I said: "It needs a bridge." Right there we wrote the part: "Time is just a way of counting yesterdays. . ." - that was Jeb's line. I came up with: "Good times never hang around long enough to stay."
I was singing that one all along and Gaff never said he wanted to sing it. When we got in the studio in December, Gaff asked: "I'm singin' that one, right?"  I said: "Well, if you really want to." I already had it cut with a finished vocal. It wasn't planned to be the lead off track.
Gaff didn't get the bridge like we intended, so it turned out to be a duet in the mixdown. Jeb liked the way Gaff did the intro. Jeb and few other people liked the way I did the bridge - so it became a duet.  If we had more time to work with the song, we might have had him sing the whole thing.
Once we got the right formula, it became the lead-off tune on the record.
Gaff played piano on that song and a few others. We had a lot of great piano with Joe Terry on the Dan Penn sessions, but when we were doing this song back in Tucson, Joe wasn't there. The Cavern had a great grand piano, so I said: "I wish we could put piano on this." Gaff said: "Well, let me fiddle around with it." He did some timeless little licks at the beginning the song. When we heard that, it really made the song come to life.
Gaff was truly a naturally gifted musician.
I'LL COME RUNNING TO YOU - That's a Connie Smith song - a great 60's female singer with RCA Records. We wanted a real up-tempo number. We did that song in the first session way back when we recorded CRY LIKE A BABY. I was planning on singing that, and like the first song, after Gaff heard it come together, he said he wanted to do it, and he hit it out of the park.
UNCLE SAM'S JAIL - That came from the last songwriting session between me, Gaff, and Jeb in September 2007 at Jeb's house in Tucson. It was that week that we weeded through all the demos and decided what we would use on the album and what we wanted to take to Nashville to Dan Penn.
I was playing the Spanish guitar and playing a Johnny Paycheck song called THE CAVE. Gaff came up and said: "Play that again. I think I can do something with that." I strummed the same chords as he sang: "When I was just a young boy of eighteen. . ." Then I sang: "So many places I have never seen." Then we decided to flip those lines, and then Jeb jumped in there. The first two verses were done. We went out to the BBQ in the backyard, and then Jeb and I came up with the bridge. The really unique thing about that song is we put the bridge at the back of the song, and it became the chorus. It sounds like the bridge the first time it happens, and when it happens again, it's a chorus.
Gaff had a real strong feeling about Vietnam. He was right there in the thick of it, so when he started talking about it in this song, we all could relate because we're bummed out about the war going on now. I remember the war stories from my father in Korea. So, we all had plenty of things to add to it. It's a beautiful but heavy song.

John Bazz Photo Gallery   The Blasters  Northwest / West Coast July 2008 Tour

Howdy all,
    The Blasters just finished a west Coast tour that took us from Seattle down to Hollywood, with stops in Winthrop, WA, Portland, San Jose, San Francisco, Santa Rosa and Sacramento; Eight shows in 2 weeks. That's more like a vacation than work, especially in light of the beautiful places we experienced.
    Phil lost his voice after the second gig but had it back by fifth  show - that's Rock and Roll folks.
And for the uninitiated, Bill Bateman is back in the Blasters after a 15 year absence, replacing Jerry Angel on drums. Jerry quit the Blasters in June to join another group called Shurman. We all wish him the best in his new endeavor Enjoy the photos.    -- John Bazz