Fresh from another successful Happy Together Tour over the summer with The Turtles (along with Gary Puckett, Chuck Negron and Gary Lewis), the legendary Mark Lindsay is readying a return to New York, where he’ll perform a full show Halloween night at the Bowery Electric.
Lindsay’s short Happy Together Tour set, of course, was heavy on his Paul Revere & The Raiders 1960s classics like “Kicks” and “Hungry.” But he also performed “Like Nothing That You've Seen” from his new CD Life Out Loud, which he feels is right up there with his Raiders hits.
“Listen closely and there are all kinds of mistakes—but a lot of energy, too,” says Lindsay, who looks forward to delivering a mix of Life Out Loud tracks with vintage Raiders material for Cavestomp!. The new album, he says, is getting a lot of play.
“It could have been done right after ‘Hungry,’” he notes, placing it circa 1966, when the Barry Mann-Cynthia Weil song reached No. 6 for Paul Revere & The Raiders.
“It’s rock ‘n' roll and made the same way we cut that stuff--totally analog,” he continues. “So it sounds like it was done back in the day--and the songs could have been written back in the day, so it’s a pretty seamless conversion, and you’d be hard-pressed to know when we slip from old to new songs.”
Lindsay credits Little Steven Van Zandt for “making the record happen.”
“I’d been writing some stuff with Gar Francis, the guitar player for The Doughboys,” says Lindsay, who co-wrote and co-produced Life Out Loud with Francis, whose goal, as stated in his CD liner note, was to get Lindsay “rocking again like he did when he was 19.”
Francis had enlisted Lindsay, who also plays sax, to do so on a cut he was producing for his venerable garage rock band The Doughboys at a studio in New Jersey.
“I left and he asked if I ever collaborated, and I told him to send me a tape and we’d find out!” Lindsay recalls. “For the next three months we sent tapes back and forth until we had 17 or 18 songs, then I went back up to New Jersey and we demoed them—really demoed them. I took three of them to Little Steven and he said they were incredible, that he’d been waiting 30 years for them! We put ‘Like Nothing That You’ve Seen’ out with my demo vocal as the first single. Little Steven sings background on it, and he put it on heavy rotation on his Underground Garage radio show and said we needed an album. We put Life Out Loud together in literally one week.”
Lindsay, who used The Doughboys on the album, notes that most Raiders songs had two or three guitars. At Bowery Electric he’ll have a third guitarist, “so we can do [1967 hit] ‘Him Or Me, What’s It Gonna Be’ which had three prominent guitars--that’s one of the reasons we never did it live: It’s hard to recreate that.”
A “very, very grateful” Lindsay considers himself lucky to have been able to make Life Out Loud and “still get out there and kick ass.”
“Unfortunately, a lot of friends and peers are no longer with us,” he notes, but looks ahead to a year from now when he and the members of the Raiders at the time will recreate the 1969 Alias Pink Puzz album on a Puzz Sea Fest cruise ship trip next September, from New York to Bermuda.
“'[The 1969 hit] ‘Let Me’ was on it, and it was the only gold single we ever had except ‘Indian Reservation,’ which wasn’t really a Raiders rock ‘n’ roll single and was going to be a Mark Lindsay single. The guys never received their gold records, so we’ll have a cruise with a lot of fans and give gold records to the guys, and everybody on the cruise will get a version of the gold record for being there.”
“Let Me,” incidentally, featured bassist Joe Osborne, of the famed Los Angeles studio players known as the Wrecking Crew, and Joe Correro Jr., “probably the best drummer we ever had”; both will participate on the cruise, as will Steve West, who played guitar on the Raiders’ original version of “Louie Louie”—“which got us our Columbia deal,” notes Lindsay.
“He had to drop out because he was still in high school—and [the late] Drake Levin came in,” he adds.
“Louie Louie,” of course, became a rock ‘n’ roll standard when The Kingsmen recorded it at the same time—and in the same Portland, Oregon studio—as the Raiders, and then topped their version on the national charts.
Besides performing Alias Pink Puzz, the upcoming cruise will include autograph and Q&A sessions, and for guitarists, a “Louie Louie” workshop with West, with attendees getting called up by Lindsay to play it with the whole band in hopes of setting the world record for jamming on it at sea.
In the meantime, Lindsay and his wife have become “full-time RVers,” he says.
“Long story short, two-and-a-half years ago we lived in Florida, Oregon, Idaho, California, Memphis and Nashville, upstate New York and Maui—and ended up in New Jersey!” says, Lindsay, who for the time being is parked in southern New Jersey near the ocean.
“We tried out an RV and traveled around awhile, and over the last two years I’ve written more songs than the previous 25! So it’s a great lifestyle change for me.”
He reveals that he’s “partially crazy,” having collected 17 organs and at one time, 100 guitars.
“We’d drag all the stuff I acquired at our last stop, and I had 10 storage spaces and a house full of it in Florida! Deb suggested we get an RV, and there’s only so much space on an RV, so we can’t do this anymore—and I’ve sold most of my guitars. How many guitars do you need? Now I have one, and the freedom of getting out from under all that crap has done great things to my head.”
The Lindsays have no plans now to settle down anywhere “until we don’t want to do this anymore,” he says. “I’m a press agent’s dream: A guy who lives in a tin can!”
Come Halloween they’ll be rolling into Manhattan, and while he probably won’t be wearing his Raiders’ three-pointed hat and boots, count on him to come out in the psychedelic sneakers that are pictured on the Life Out Loud CD cover, which he wore on the Happy Together Tour.
Subscribe to my examiner.com pages and follow me on Twitter @JimBessman!