Between Friends

Mark & McCoy
Tue, 08/18/2015 - 13:47

Bob Flick of The Brothers Four continued to champion me after the group’s Japanese tour of 1979. He had become an independent music producer and created a number of successful commercials and ad campaigns. He worked with the best local musicians at the world-class studio, Kaye-Smith. Occasionally he would call me to sing or play guitar on one of his sessions. Bob was a friend and sometime business associate of Jerry Dennon who had played a key role making The Kingsmen’s version of “Louie, Louie” a huge hit. That gave Jerry credibility with Northwest musicians.

In 1981 Bob got me signed with Jerry’s record label. Bob would produce the album of original songs using top Northwest musicians. Studio A at Kaye-Smith was big enough to record a symphony orchestra so the decision was made to record the album “live” and invite friends to be there as a studio audience. The idea was to keep costs down and to give the music an intimate but controlled feel. Listening to the music 30 years later I think the concept worked.

There was a choice of whether to release a solo album or one with McCoy. McCoy was beginning his fifth year of teaching first grade. Because of that commitment there would not be the opportunity for the two of us to go on the road and promote the album. I realize now how hard it was for me at the time to be on the stage or in the studio without him. Looking back it all makes sense and becomes part of a bigger picture.
We rehearsed one evening and recorded the next two evenings that September. There were twelve songs. During rehearsal we got through six or seven tunes before getting stalled trying to find the groove for the song “Greyhound.” We ended up leaving the studio that night without running through the last of the songs. The tension was, well, intense.

In addition my dad had unexpectedly appeared. He’d come from Yugoslavia where he was working in the Foreign Service and was stopping in Seattle on his way to Spokane to deal with some business deals that had gone bad. Neither he nor I slept much that night. It was one of the few times I felt my dad truly needed me.

It was an amazing twenty-four hours with my dad who ended up coming to the first hour of the recording session that next evening before flying to Spokane. The songs came together. I remember sitting afterwards on the steps of Treats Restaurant with McCoy and simultaneously laughing as loud and crying as hard as I could. It was truly a moment Between Friends.

Years later I would write the song “The Falling and the Flying” that tells the story of that night. I’ve included the audio recording of that song as well as the the video of that 2009 recording. There are also audio tracks of three of the songs from the “Between Friends” album. One of them is "The Cafe" featuring McCoy on vocals.

There is also a video of "When I Grow Up I'll Be An Old Man" a song also on the "Between Friends" album. That's Ted Brancato on keyboards.

If you want to join McCoy, Ted, and me on September 13th as we celebrate 50 years of friendship and music tickets are available at Brown Paper Tickets.

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