Back in the 1990s, there were these things called non-sequel movies, and the people that made these movies promoted them with youth-marketed soundtrack albums, shiny round objects containing primarily filler and unused album cuts from bands and singers enjoyed by the movie's target demographic. In the
New albums from a classic band or artist can sometimes be a dodgy proposition. But when I saw the news last year that The Doobie Brothers had a new album on tap, their first release of new material in 10 years, I was intrigued. The Doobies had an ace up their sleeve – they had coaxed (and as you can see from the conversation below, one could argue that it was the songs) legendary producer and longtime Doobie associate/friend Ted Templeman (Van Halen, Aerosmith, Little Feat) out of his semi-retired state to produce what would become World Gone Crazy. Since the album’s release in late 2010, the Doobies have been turning heads, notching a top 40 debut on the Billboard Top 200 charts and even generating radio airplay which came initially via the first single “Nobody,” a song that was rescued and re-recorded at the suggestion of Templeman from their original self-titled 1971 debut release (and it holds special significance as being the first song and also the first album they ever recorded with Templeman).
2011 finds the band very busy with the success of World Gone Crazy – they recently made their debut on the Grand Ole Opry and have continued to make new strides internationally with recent concert dates in Australia and New Zealand and a flurry of activities confirmed for the rest of the year. In talking with Doobie Brothers principal member Tom Johnston (vocals/guitars), the band’s goals were simple – they wanted to make a good album. And they’ve certainly done that and a lot more, proving to the non-believers and naysayers that there’s plenty of gas left in the tank. With an incredible career that now stretches past the 40 year mark, The Doobie Brothers show no sign of slowing down and if you’ve heard the new album, you know there’s a lot to celebrate about that. If you haven’t heard World Gone Crazy, do yourself a favor and pick it up – if you’ve ever been a Doobie Brothers fan either casually or hardcore, World Gone Crazy is mandatory listening.
Matt Wardlaw: Congrats on the new record! As you move past your 40th anniversary as a band, I’ve been reading plenty of great reviews, including one that called the album one of your best since What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits. That’s a huge compliment and I would certainly say that this is one of the best records you’ve done since reuniting.
Tom Johnston: It’s the best record we’ve done since reuniting as far as I’m concerned and that includes all four of them. I think this is head and shoulders above anything we’ve done, including Cycles. Cycles was okay but it didn’t come close to the musicianship and the quality of the tunes and the arrangements. Yeah, this one really is a good body of work and we’re all really happy with it.
When the economy’s bad, crime get worse. That’s why I decided to hire a new lawman to clean up this one-horse-because-of-all-the-horse-thieves town.
I know what you’re thinking: “It’s called Bootleg City. If you outlaw the outlaws and start doing everything by the book, aren’t you defeating the purpose of the place? Isn’t there some sort of town charter you’d be violating? Seriously, Mr. Mayor, how stupid can you be?” The thing is, I agree with you. (Well, except for that rude rhetorical question you tacked onto the end of your thought. That seemed unnecessary.) After all, the welcome sign at the edge of town says the following: BOOTLEG CITY — A PLACE FOR BOOTLEGGERS AND SCOUNDRELS AND EVEN RAPISTS, AS LONG AS IT’S JUST THE VIKING KIND OF RAPE WHERE YOU WANTONLY DESTROY THE LAND, BUT BE A DEAR AND JUST DESTROY THE POOR SIDE OF TOWN, OKAY? WE’VE BEEN MEANING TO LAY WASTE TO THAT EYESORE FOR YEARS NOW. THANKS, AND ENJOY YOUR STAY!
Even so, crime is out of control here, so I’ve started interviewing candidates for the job of police chief (and judge, jury, and executioner if they have a talent for multitasking). Unfortunately, due to a nearsighted oversight on my part, I misread the caption on one particular photograph attached to a candidate’s resumé and ended up scheduling an interview with a guy named Marshall Crenshaw. See, I didn’t notice that second L at the end of his first name — it turns out he’s a musician, not the former marshal of Jaggedland. The imagined typo didn’t come up for the first 20 minutes of the interview, though, so I sat there wondering how this bespectacled Columbo-type character was going to strike fear into the hearts of criminals, and he was wondering why he had to meet a town’s mayor before playing a club gig.
Eventually we got the whole thing sorted out and had a few laughs about it. He told me I was his new favorite waste of time, so I told him rape was my favorite waste of time but go-nowhere interviews were a close second. At that point he started looking for the door and said he had to get to the hotel and take a shower before his show.
Musicians are so hard to read. Maybe I just need new glasses.