Sunday, March 27, 2011

"Kind of a Drag" Named one of Chicagoland's Top 10 Songs in 2009 issue of "Illinois Entertainer" Magazine


From a Jan. 5, 2009 article in the Illinois Entertainer magazine, Jim Holvay's "Kind of a Drag" receives top song honors as made a signature tune of The Buckinghams:

Songs 1-10
Illinois Entertainer picks the 25 greatest songs in Chicago history, continued below:

"Hearing how much Magic 104.3 used to blast this song from my mom’s Chevy Citation while on garage-sale rounds, one gets an appreciation of what 1967 was like for Chicago and The Buckinghams. What we know today as the “Chicago horn sound” was astonishingly new when “Kind Of A Drag” landed, and the song seemed to encapsulate every sound from their ensuing album: stately pop, garage rock, blue-eyed soul, British invasion. True, Chicago (the band) had already formed at this point, but “Kind Of A Drag” contained a lot of ideas they’d pillage."

Full story link at: http://illinoisentertainer.com/2009/01/songs-1-to-10/comment-page-1/

Saturday, March 26, 2011

About Oldies Music--A Classic Discussion

For several weeks, Chicago-based blogger Kent Kotal has been exploring, with readers and contributors to his list, the concept of what, exactly, is an Oldie? The refreshing consensus is basically...what it means to you personally. The Buckinghams are a unique musical entity because to so many across the country, they are a national pop act who topped the charts. Yet, to anyone from Chicago, they are still considered a 'local' sensation who did well outside of town. Nevertheless, however you perceive The Buckinghams or their music of the 1960s, here's an excerpt from Kent's wrap-up post today:

"Just because it's old ...
Doesn't mean it's an "oldie"!!!

That seems to be the general consensus of our recent "What Is An Oldie?" Poll.

In fact, when tabulating and analyzing all of the responses we received, it seems that the majority of the oldies music fans out there seem to think that "The Oldies Era" ends at about 1975 ... or right before the dawn of The Disco Era.

(Sure, we still had folks insist that it shouldn't run beyond 1963 ... that The British Invasion began another new era in music ... but if I'm going to cover "oldies" and retain any sense of passion about it, I've at least got to include the music that means the most to ME ... and that would be that so-called "Beatles Era" of 1964 - 1970. Music changed in SO many ways during these years ... and British Rock was just one aspect of this.)

We had the whole Motown / Atlantic / Stax Soul Thing going on ...

Psychedelia found its way on to the charts ...

As did HUGE country cross-over hits by artists like Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Roger Miller.

West Coast and East Coast falsetto sounds by the likes of The Beach Boys and The Four Seasons ...

Pop sensations like The Monkees, Tommy James and the Shondells, The Turtles and Paul Revere and the Raiders ...

Local Acts like The Buckinghams, The Cryan' Shames and The New Colony Six ...

Girl Groups like The Chiffons, The Shirelles, The Ronettes, The Shangri-Las and The Dixie Cups ...

And so much more. (And they all got played side by side every single day and nobody thought ANYTHING at all about it!)

Of course a REAL Oldies Station has GOT to include "Roots of Rock" artists like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino and The Everly Brothers ... this is an absolute MUST ... as are break-out stars like Connie Francis and Brenda Lee ... Bobby Darin and Ricky Nelson ... the list truly does go on and on and on ..."

Check out Kent's blog at: http://forgottenhits60s.blogspot.com/
Thanks, Kent, for another series and lively discussion on a favorite topic. DLW

Friday, March 18, 2011

Concert News for Ohio and Illinois Music Fans

Last Minute Weekend Plans?

TONIGHT'S SHOW IN OHIO
**Reminder in this morning's Youngstown newspaper online, "The Vindicator", www.vindy.com
Today’s entertainment picks:
The Buckinghams, 8 p.m.: Hey baby, they’re playing our song. Stambaugh Auditorium, 1000 Fifth Ave., Youngstown; 330-743-2717.

CHICAGOLAND FANS GET WISH FOR HAPPY TOGETHER TOUR APPEARANCES THIS YEAR
Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna return as the Buckinghams join The Turtles, Mark Lindsay, Grass Roots, and The Association in concert for the Happy Together Tour. Last year's tour played in 24 cities, but missed coming through Chicago. This year, they'll be in two great locations for area fans: the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan, IL, an annual favorite for The Buckinghams to perform, and the Effingham Performance Center in Effingham, IL.

Happy Together Tour at the Genesee Theatre, Sat. Aug. 6 in Waukegan, IL

Tickets go on sale tomorrow, March 19th via Ticketmaster, www.ticketmaster.com, at 10 am, for the Happy Together Tour in concert at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan, IL, on Saturday, Aug. 6th. For more information, including possibilities of upgrading seats to their Platinum Performance Package, visit https://host26.webserveralpha.com/geneseetheatre/index.php

The Platinum Package is a private event, requiring advance reservations, in the Red Carpet Lounge on the 4th floor of the Genesee, and is open one hour prior to show time. For a modest price, you will enjoy an open bar and hot and cold hors d'oeuvres in a comfortable and relaxed setting. The Platinum Party experience is available for most shows and space is limited. Please check the event calendar for show availability.

Event ticket purchase is required to upgrade to the Platinum Package. You may add the Package at the time of purchasing your event ticket through Ticketmaster phone, internet and outlet sources. Or you may add the Package later by visiting or calling the Genesee Theatre Box Office at 847-263-6300.

Effingham, Illinois to host Happy Together Tour, Thur., Aug. 25, at Effingham Performance Center

On Thursday, August 25th, The Turtles, The Buckinghams, Grass Roots, Mark Lindsay, and The Association will perform as the HTT 2011 plays at the Effingham Performance Center.

Tickets to this show also available via Ticketmaster. Visit http://www.theepc.org/ for more details.
This was taken in winter, but by summer, everything will be much warmer!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

John Benson's Story in the Youngstown, OH, Vindicator Newspaper


John Benson interviewed Carl Giammarese recently about The Buckinghams' concert this Friday, March 18th in Youngstown.

The concert is sponsored by the Monday Musical Club there, that has more than 100 years of great history in bringing memorable music to the Stambaugh Auditorium.

Story begins:
Somewhat out of breath but apparently in great shape is how The Buckinghams’ Carl Giammarese sounded when a recent phone call found him at a Chicago-area gym putting some time in on the step-machine.

“You know us old rockers — we have to stay in shape,” Giammarese said, laughing.

Invariably, the guitarist is getting ready for another walk down memory lane with fans when the group comes to Youngstown on Friday for a show at Stambaugh Auditorium.

Full story online at: http://www.vindy.com/news/2011/mar/17/the-buckinghams-these-rock-8217n8217-rol/

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tickets Available for Asbury Park, NJ Happy Together Tour Show, July 16th



Tickets are on sale now for the Happy Together Tour to stop in Asbury Park, NJ, on Saturday, July 16th, and the evening promises great music from The Buckinghams, The Turtles, Mark Lindsay (former lead singer of Paul Revere and the Raiders), The Grass Roots, and this year, The Association will join them. Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna look forward to returning to Asbury Park for another great concert experience with the great fans from New Jersey and New York at the Paramount Theatre.

Act early to purchase limited VIP Meet and Greet, premium seat tickets while they last.

When you're in the aea, dining is available in the Langostina Lounge, Stella Marina Bar & Restaurant, Tim McLoone's Supper Club, and the Aqua Bar and Restaurant.

On Sale: Now

Ticket Prices: $29-$79 ($99 VIP Meet and Greet, Premium Seat Packages)

Tickets available at Ticketmaster.com, Phone Charge at 800-745- 3000, Outlets including select Walmart locations, The Stone Pony Box Office 732-502-0600 and The Paramount box office on the day of show if any tickets remain.

Partial proceeds to benefit the Light of Day Foundation
Produced by Concerts East and Sammy Boyd.

Event Details

Saturday, July 16 2011, 8 pm
All Ages

Best Parking: 1300 Ocean Avenue Asbury Park, NJ 07712

Tickets/more information is available at:
http://apboardwalk.com/events/2613

Directions on how to get to the Paramount:
http://maps.google.com/maps?daddr=Paramount+Theatre%2C1300+Ocean+Avenue+Asbury+Park%2C+NJ+07712

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Buckinghams' Fan, Steve Merry, Shares Memories of the Happy Together Tour 1985-1986

When The Buckinghams toured the country on their first Happy Together Tour, they were part of one the year's Top 10 Most Popular Tours, according to Pollstar, which keeps track of concert attendance and ticket sales. The Happy Together Tour '85-'86 was produced by Howard Silverman and David Fischoff, and the tour was sponsored by Members Only, quite popular at the time.


Steve heard The Buckinghams and the Happy Together Tour at the Hulman Center, in Terra Haute, Indiana. Steve graciously shared photos from several pages of his Souvenir Tour Booklet for others to enjoy on Chicagosveryown Buckinghams' Facebook page. Reproduced here with his permission.


Top photo-Encore with everyone on stage.
Bottom photo--(L to R: Tour co-producer, Howard Silverman, today of Paradise Artists, Carl Giammarese, Rob Grill(Grass Roots), Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman(The Turtles), 3 reps from Members Only, Tour co-producer, David Fischoff.


About Members Only, Tour Sponsor.


About The Buckinghams--Tour Bio.


The Buckinghams-Photos from the 60s and '85/'86.


About The Grass Roots.


Photos of The Grass Roots.


Gary Lewis & The Playboys Photos.


About Gary Lewis & the Playboys.


Photos of The Turtles.


About The Turtles (Mark Vollman and Howard Kaylan, aka Flo & Eddie).


Family Album, page 1.


Family Album page 2.


Cousin Brucie, WABC-AM Radio Legend, and MC who came out to launch the Happy Together Tour that year. Bottom panel is an ad for music by The Turtles.


Discography for all the bands, plus the bottom panel is an ad for The Buckinghams new single release, "Veronica", from their album, "A Matter of Time" on Red Label Records. Carl, Nick, and the band did this song as part of their set that tour.


Happy Together Tour Production Team.


A Message from Tour Co-producer, David Fischoff.


Back cover of the Souvenir Tour Program.

Thanks again to Steve for taking the time to share his memories. He's ready to attend the HTT 2011 when the tour comes to Effingham Perfomance Center, Thursday, August 25, 2011.

Music of Our Heart Blog Previews The Buckinghams in Happy Together Show, July 9th in Wallingford, CT


It was nice to see blogger MusicofourHeart's post today about the concert date in Wallingford, CT, with the Happy Together Tour. On Saturday, July 9th, Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna will join The Turtles, The Grass Roots, Mark Lindsay (former lead singer of Paul Revere and the Raiders) and the Association for the 2011 return in the "25th Anniversary Plus 1" national tour. Audience response last year wsa tremendous and everyone who came to the shows had a great evening of music.

Journalist Musicofourheart writes:
"I was thinking about The Buckinghams this morning. Their song, “Kind of a Drag” popped into my head so I cruised over to YouTube to watch a video of them playing their #1 hit from 1967."


The Buckinghams will also return to Connecticut for a Christmas Show on Sunday, December 18th at the beautiful Infinity Hall, where they've played before.

It's great to have such loyal friends of their music in Connecticut. Buckinghams' fans are serious music enthusiasts, who indeed keep the songs in their hearts alive across the country, and have all these many years.

Check out his full blog post at http://musicofourheart.wordpress.com/2011/03/12/the-buckinghams-in-2011/

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Some Behind-the-Scenes Photos of Conway, Arkansas from the Reynolds Performance Hall


From the Reynolds Performance Hall's blog re The Buckinghams and Blood, Sweat & Tears in Concert:

"One thing that most human beings have in common is the tendency to revisit our youth in memory. Old pictures, favorite restaurants, the house we grew up in…all can be welcome remembrances of times long past that we still treasure today.

Music is also a way to remember, and especially being able to see some of our favorite musicians still going strong after many years. So we (along with the audience) were delighted to be able to watch The Buckinghams and Blood, Sweat, and Tears do what they’ve been doing well for decades now: play GREAT music."...

Full blog post can be found here.
http://ucareynolds.wordpress.com/2011/03/11/the-buckinghams-blood-sweat-and-tears/

All photos courtesy of Reynolds Performance Hall, Conway, Arkansas.

Great Night of Music--The Buckinghams in Concert with Blood Sweat & Tears--Photos from the Reynolds Performance Center, Conway Arkansas, March 4th


Conway, Arkansas is a beautiful town to visit, with great Southern hospitality shown to us by the staff at the Reynolds Performance Hall. These are a few of their photos taken at the concert and we appreciate their sharing with us.

The band and the audience at the Reynolds Performance Hall in Conway, AR.

(L to R) Carl Giammarese, Bruce Soboroff, Nick Fortuna, Dave Zane

(L to R) Dave Zane, Bruce Soboroff, Nick Fortuna

The view from the balcony, The Buckinghams on stage.

(L to R) Bruce Soboroff and Rocky Penn.

Rocky Penn, drummer/vocalist, and a great drum kit.

Guitarist/vocalist Dave Zane in the foreground.

(L to R) Carl Giammarese, Nick Fortuna, and Dave Zane.

View from the balcony, photo 1.

View from the balcony, photo 2.

Thanks again to the Reynolds Performance Hall for sharing these pictures. Find Reynolds Hall on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ucareynolds?ref=ts

Friday, March 11, 2011

Review of The Buckinghams' Recent Concert at the California Theatre of Performing Arts in San Bernardino


From the March 10th online edition of the "Highland News", an excerpt of the review posted by Jules E. Beuck for The Buckinghams, Grass Roots, and Turtles in concert.

"Opening the show was Chicago’s Buckinghams. Fronted by original members Carl Giammarese and bassist Nick Fortuna, The Buckinghams went through a set that had them perform many of their hits and covers of other artists’ hits.

One song of theirs they performed that had been left off of many of their shows was their cover of “I’ll Go Crazy” that was sung by recent addition guitarist Dave Zane. Other hits they performed were “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” “Kind Of A Drag,” and “Susan.”

Covers they performed included “The Worst That Could Happen,” “Expressway To Your Heart” and “Time Won’t Let Me.”

They received a standing ovation and when they went to the lobby to sign autographs, the line was quite long to see them up close and personal."

Full story at: http://www.highlandnews.net/articles/2011/03/10/entertainment/doc4d7934ea9bf24645339216.txt

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Happy Together 2011 Tour Dates


Summer fun is just around the corner with The Buckinghams. The 25th Anniversary Happy Together Tour was so well received by fans across the country that this summer is sure to be filled with more great classic rock sounds on the Happy Together Tour 2011.

Fri. July 8, Westbury, NY North Fork Theatre at Westbury
Sat. July 9, Wallingford,CT Toyota Presents the Oakdale Theatre
Mon. July 11, Bethlehem, PA Musikfest Cafe presented by Yuengling
Wed. July 13, Glenside, PA Keswick Theatre
Thur. July 14, Hyannis, MA Cape Cod Melody Tent
Fri. July 15, Cohasset, MA South Shore Music Circus
Sat. July 16, Asbury Park, NJ Paramount Theater at Convention Hall
Tues. July 19, Clearwater, FL, Ruth Eckerd Hall
Thurs. July 21, Columbus, GA, River Center
Thur. Aug. 4, Kettering, OH Fraze Pavillion for the Performing Arts
Fri. Aug. 5, Sylvania, OH Centennial Terrace
Sat. Aug. 6, Waukegan, IL Genessee Theatre
Sun. Aug 7, West Allis, WI Wisconsin State Fair--Main Stage
Wed. Aug. 24, Louisville, KY Kentucky State Fair--Fairgrounds Stadium
Thur. Aug. 25, Effingham, IL Effingham Performance Center
Fri. Aug. 26, Aurora, IL Paramount Theatre
Sat. Aug. 27 Mitchell, SD Corn Palace Festival
Mon. Aug. 29 St. Paul, MN Minnesota State Fair

Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna are delighted to return and perform for the 2011 Happy Together Tour. The Buckinghams join again The Turtles, Mark Lindsay, former lead singer for Paul Revere and the Raiders, and the Grass Roots. Also this year, their friends The Association ("Cherish," "Windy", Never My Love", "Along Comes Mary" and "Time for Livin'") will join the tour. Night after night of great classic rock will fill summer skies. Make your plans now and check The Buckinghams' Facebook Events page regularly for the latest date information.

Look for us The Buckinghams (Official Administered Fan Page) on Facebook

Click on the Events Tab to see all our latest concert information.

The tour was also announced in Steve Smith's Classic Rock, Pop and Country blog in Long Beach, CA. That story is found at http://www.presstelegram.com/lifestyle/ci_17573585

Long Beach, CA Announces Some of the Happy Together Tour Dates

Today in the Long Beach, CA blog, Steve Smith included the upcoming Happy Together Tour in his blog "STEVE SMITH: Classic rock, pop and country." Smith noted, "The Turtles announced the lineup for its 26th Happy Together Tour, which will cross the country beginning in July. Joining them will be The Association, The Grass Roots, The Buckinghams and Mark Lindsay, former lead singer for Paul Revere & The Raiders.

So far, only dates in New England have been announced but more are expected."

We'll have a list of current Happy Together Tour dates posted later this week.

Full story at:
http://www.presstelegram.com/lifestyle/ci_17573585

Monday, March 7, 2011

Conway, AR Concert Review--Crowd Grooves to 60s Rock

There's no doubt that The Buckinghams are beloved in the South, just as much as they are in the Midwest, Northeast, and Western United States. After all, "Kind of a Drag" went to #1 in the country in Little Rock, AR before it was #1 across the country on the Billboard charts. Friday, March 4th, The Buckinghams traveled to Conway, Arkansas to the campus of the University of Central Arkansas and the stately Reynolds Performance Hall for a concert with Blood, Sweat and Tears, who opened the evening with a superb concert with a rich, royal version of "Spinning Wheel."

The Buckinghams first releases on Columbia Records were produced by the band's manager, James William Guercio. Following on an excellent first Blood, Sweat and Tears album, produced by band member Al Kooper, Columbia Records asked Guercio to produce BSandT's second album, "Spinning Wheel," which was nominated for 3 Grammy Awards, before winning for Best Instrumental Arrangemeent for Fred Lipsius, sax player for BSandT. The concert in Conway was a musical 'full circle' for the two great bands to present audiences with the great pop rock horn sounds initiated by The Buckinghams and carried to further success by BSandT. The roots of rock and roll are rich and run wide indeed. DLW


From a review by Allyson McNabb, posted March 6, 2011 in My Fountain online:

"After intermission, The Buckinghams took the stage to roaring applause and cheers. They opened with their 1967 chart- topping hit, “Don’t You Care.” The audience loved their “60s Medley,” which had the crowd clapping and nodding in time with the music. The Buckinghams chatted with the audience and told stories about their rise to fame." and

"They played their hit “Susan,” which they debuted on the Ed Sullivan Show. They closed with the classic rock song that made them famous, “Kind of a Drag.” The audience quickly rose to their feet with cheers. The band played an encore, then greeted people in the atrium of Reynolds."

Full review found at: http://www.myfountainonline.com/crowd-grooves-to-60s-rock

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Moonlight Mojo Man's "Sun Day" Interview with Carl Giammarese, February, 2011





Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna, joined by Bruce Soboroff, Dave Zane, and Rocky Penn, performed at the Sun City Community in Huntley, IL, March 2nd. This interview appeared before their concert.



"Sun Day" journalist/rocker "Moonlight Mojo Man" interview with Carl Giammarese, transcript here:

The following is an excerpt to a February 2011 interview between journalist, “Moonlight Mojo Man” and Carl Giammarese. Permission to share an edited version of the interview for Buckinghams’ fans has been granted by the Managing Editor of “Sun Day”, the publication serving the Sun City community in Huntley, IL. The link to the original, published article is: http://www.mysundaynews.com/?cat=14. Our thanks to all.

February 24, 2011 | By Moonlight Mojo Man

All hail!

Sun Day’s Moonlight Mojo Man sat down recently with The Buckinghams co-founder and lead singer Carl Giammarese for a little quick and casual Q&A, as the popular Chicago band readies to head to Sun City at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 2 in Drendel Ballroom.

Moonlight Mojo Man(MMM): The MMM is pleased to be joined today by Carl Giammarese, one of the founders and lead singer of Chicago’s The Buckinghams and that name will bring back great memories for many of us children of the 60’s. Welcome, Carl.

Carl Giammarese (CG): Well thank you Mojo, thanks for interviewing me, I’m looking forward to it.

MMM: Thanks, Carl. I know that the group will be playing in Sun City this coming March 2nd in the Drendel Ballroom, I know I’ve got my tickets already. Probably most everybody knows who The Buckinghams are, but I’m betting that not as many know how this big adventure started for you all. Can you tell us a little bit about how the group got started and found its success?

CG: Well, of course, we started in the Chicago land area, mostly on the north side of the city. We sort of merged a couple different bands, you know, I played in the group with Nick Fortuna, called the Centuries and another guy Curt Bachman. Anyway, and then there was this other band called the Pulsations with Dennis Tufano and John Poulos and George Legros was in the band at the time. So, when the Centuries broke up they asked me to join them and I did. I saw a lot of potential there and I thought it was a great group. I thought Dennis & George were singing well and it just had a lot of potential, so I joined them and then, you know, initially Curt Bachman joined us as a bass player but then he left after a short time and Nick Fortuna came in. So, you know, we played for a short time as the Pulsations in 1965 and then we landed a TV show on WGN, a short- lived variety show called “All Time Hits.” It was a 13-week show and they were responsible for changing our name to The Buckinghams.

MMM: I see

CG: It’s a funny thing the producer of the show, his name was Sheldon Cooper and when you talked to him I liked to build it up and say, “we won the audition and a lot of bands tried out”. If you talked to him, though, he said “well, yes we picked those guys ’cause they were the least worst band.”

MMM & CG: laughter

CG: It really deflates your ego.

MMM: Well, I guess, but there are any number of moments like that, aren’t there? I know I was in a band in the 60’s as well and we played a lot of high school dances and so forth, did the Centuries play those sorts of things, too?

CG: Oh yeah, when we were leading up to that audition, we were playing all around Chicago and mostly in the Midwest and we played the Holiday Ballroom on the north side, The Embassy, Antoine’s, The Vogue Ballroom, The Wild Goose, and you know. So we did a lot of that. There was a club in Old Town on Wells street that we used to play and then we would play dances and hops around the Midwest and the tri-state area and we were always loading our manager Carl Bonafede’s station wagon with equipment and a trailer and we would get in that thing and drive. Eventually we got sponsored by Mr. Norm, the car dealer, and we sang this commercial, “Get with the go-group”. He gave us a van and then we had a van we used to pile our gear in. Then we would all lie on top of the equipment and drive all over the place

MMM: Well that was a great advantage wasn’t it? I think I read somewhere where the Centuries once played in front of an appliance store in Morton Grove, is that right?

CG: Well, that was one of our first gigs when we first got together. It might have been our first public show because up until then, the Centuries, we mostly played parties, you know a lot of weekend parties in Morton Grove area, and they would pay us with free beer or somebody would slip you 20 bucks or whatever. Then we had a chance, I think my cousin Jerry got us that gig, at Dempster Street in Morton Grove. Right in downtown Morton Grove, there was an appliance store and somewhere I have a picture in my file of us standing out in front with these little amplifiers. And we are standing in between all the appliances. So you’ll see me, then see a refrigerator, then Nick Fortuna, then you’ll see a television set and so forth. It was a funny, funny thing and that was probably our first public gig and I don’t even think we got paid for it.

MMM: And if it was an appliance store you probably didn’t get free beers either?

CG: No, no.

MMM: Well take us from, I guess, the All Time Hits show, to that moment when magic hit.

CG: Well, from All Time Hits, you know, they changed our name to The Buckinghams. They were looking for a British sound, you know the British invasion was happening and they came up with that and we were surprised that nobody was using the name and “The Buckinghams” worked. It sounded good. There was this guy who was the security guard who worked for the show; he came up with the name, so we went on the show with that name using The Buckinghams. The exposure was really good for us and that led to a recording contract. Our manager Carl Bonafede got us a contract with a Chicago-based local called USA Records and, you know, we recorded several songs. At that time we were a cover band, you know, we played cover material around the city, different places. We were doing everything from James Brown to the Beatles. We did soul tunes, we did British invasion songs, we did the Kinks, the Hollies, whatever. So when it came time to record we just covered some of those songs, you know. We did James Brown’s song, “I’ll Go Crazy”. That was a single, got some Midwest play and thank God, great radio stations like WLS and WCFL were very supportive of local bands. They put your song on rotation and that certainly helped a lot, especially your station like WLS, you could hear all over the country, that was a 50k watt station.

MMM: How about “Kind of a Drag”, where did that come from - that was not a cover, I gather?

CG: No, you know after doing a few cover songs and getting some exposure, we were looking for an original tune and our manager Carl Bonafede tapped on a guy by the name of Jim Holvay. Jim was a songwriter who also played with the band called The Mob. They were a big show band. I guess the material wasn’t right for the band and Holvay gave Carl a song on tape and he says, “Here, maybe they can do something with this song, it’s “Kind of a Drag”.” It was just him, strumming on a guitar, playing a little slower than we recorded it and we felt the song had a lot of potential. The hook of the song opens up with right away, not only that big intro, but (singing) “Kind of a Drag”. It’s right there as soon as you start, and so we figured let’s give it a shot, and we went into the old Chess studios on South Michigan Ave, and recorded it. And it was one of our producers, Dan Belloc, who owned the Holiday Ballroom; and, Dan was a band leader of the big band sound and he had a horn section and he thought “Hey this will be great with horns” and came up with the idea. Then he had his trombone player Frank Tesinsky do an arrangement. So we put the horns to it after we recorded the track and that really spiced it up.

MMM: Yeah, the horns were a little unusual at the time weren’t they?

CG: Yeah, and I always say this in our show, you know, we were first famous for a two and a half minute recording called ‘Kind of a Drag”; it was a number one record for us. But we were also, which some people don’t realize, credited with starting the pop/rock horn sound. You know that trombone-driven sound, which I would have to say was Belloc and Tesinsky were responsible for. Then, of course, later on when we went to Columbia records and Jim Guercio produced us, he continued that sound with “Don’t You Care”, “Mercy Mercy”, and “Hey Baby”, “Susan” and so forth. And, of course, Jim went on to produce Chicago, which has this similar horn arrangement sound to it.

MMM: All together, I think from what I can recall, it was 6 or 7 songs in the top 40 over the span of about a year and a half, wasn’t it something like that?

CG: Yeah, cause you figure “Kind of a Drag” was released in late ‘66 and all the hits in ’67; “Susan” was in ’68. Then we did the Ed Sullivan Show in ‘68 and we performed “Susan” on that show.

MMM: “Back in Love Again” was ‘68, wasn’t it?

CG: Yeah, late ‘68, you know it was at the most a 2-year period.

MMM: Well how exciting for a bunch of kids from North Chicago, huh?

CG: Yeah, it was very exciting. You know, who would have imagined a bunch of kids rehearsing in their parents’ basements would take it that far and have that kind of success and be named by Billboard magazine, the “Most Listened to Band” back in 1967, you know.

MMM: And by Cash Box as “The Most Promising Band”, I think, of 1967.

CG: Right, right, exactly.

MMM: The group actually continued up to about 1970 before you disbanded at that point, right?

CG: Right, after having all that success people ask me a lot of time “why’d you guys break up, or what happened?” And I would have to say you couldn’t put your finger on one exact thing; it was a combination of things. One was we were having some disagreements with management and changing producers and managers. In retrospect, that didn’t help us with our relationship with Columbia Records. But the main thing too, is that the music scene was changing so drastically in ‘69 and was a more underground heavier sound and albums started to sell more than singles. And you had Monterey Pop, you had Woodstock, groups like that. Columbia was signing Janis Joplin and Santana and so forth. So it was changing the way groups like us and the Association and the Turtles and the Beach Boys were kind of like becoming a little passé, I’d have to say, at that point.

MMM: Late 60’s was a very different sound wasn’t it?

CG: Right, it changed all at once. I think the Beatles went that way with Sgt. Pepper and that’s when things like the concept albums started coming out. We gave it a shot, we did a wonderful album called “Portraits” that was a concept album, the way the songs script together and was really different for the Buckinghams. But, you know, our audience was used to “Kind of a Drag” and “Hey Baby” to buy into that from us. So that was changing and we were kind of losing interest in that, but still excited about making music. And so then Marty Grebb left us first, he was our keyboard player and he went on to do some other things. He played with a group called the Fabulous Rhinestones and later on, he did play with Chicago and as a back-up player for many musicians, including Eric Clapton, and so forth. Nick was more interested in R& B music at that time and John Poulos, our drummer, was more interested in the business end of things.

MMM: I know that you and Dennis did kind of a duo thing for a period of time?

CG: I was going to say Dennis and I wanted to get into the singer/songwriter mode as a duo and we landed a record deal after playing small venues around Chicago for a couple of years. We kind of went back to our roots and we were writing a lot and we were just a couple of guys with acoustic guitars and we landed a record deal with the great Lou Adler back in ‘72. And Lou had just come off winning about 7 Grammy awards with Carole King. So he signed us and we did three albums with him and the first album got a lot of attention, but we were just never able to pull out that big hit. While the exposure was different, we didn’t have that success with it.

MMM: Obviously The Buckinghams are back now, how did that happen?

CG: Well, after going through the 70’s and it just seemed like there was no interest in 60’s music, Dennis & I finally called it quits in ‘77 and I came back to Chicago, because we were out in LA a lot and I started singing commercial jingles, because Chicago was a big “jingle town”. I probably sang on about 170 commercials over a period of a few years.

And then all of a sudden it was 1980 and I got a phone call from John Gehron, who was the program director at WLS. John asked me if I we would be interested in doing a Reunion show at Chicago Fest on Navy Pier, which was just happening. And I don’t know; we had never really able to pull it together and I always thought “if I could get all the guys together,” but it never seemed to work out. John Poulos, our original drummer was a big fan of doing that for many years and he passed away in the summer of 1980, so I called Dennis Tufano and I called Nick Fortuna, and I called Marty Grebb. Marty was unable to join us because he had just started playing with Chicago, but Dennis and Nick were up for it, so the three of us got together and pulled a couple other musicians in with us: another keyboard player John Cammelot and we picked a couple different drummers at the time: Tom Radtke and Tom Osfar.

Anyway we rehearsed for a couple weeks and went and played Chicago Fest in 1980 I think it was July, a gigantic turnout. We had about 12 thousand show up on the Pier. It was so exciting and so much fun, that we did a few other dates around the Chicago area. We played the Park West Theatre a few times; we did it on New Year’s Eve, I think, in ‘81 I think it was. But what was happening was you felt this insurgence and excitement of 60’s music again, in the early 80’s. And every year for a few years we were getting offers to play more dates and Jam Productions was booking us for some of the dates and so forth.

Then I talked it over with Nick and Dennis, who was living in LA at the time, and we talked about, well, we could feel this building, “why don’t we just go out and put the band together permanently and go play nationally and record again” and so forth. Nick was up for it and we approached Dennis Tufano and initially he was excited about it. He sounded like he wanted to do it and this was like early ‘83, and so we were in the studio doing some recording and all of a sudden Dennis turned to us and said, “you know what guys, I really don’t want to be a Buckingham any more”. He had his acting career going on in LA; he was doing a lot of things and so we were a little deflated, as you can expect.

MMM: And that’s how Carl Giammarese became the lead singer?

CG: Yeah well, Nick said to me, “Why don’t we do it anyway?”, and my initial reaction was “I don’t want to do that, that’s too weird, I don’t know what that would be like”. But that was the turning point for me and I said, “Well, I’ll give it a shot”. I had been singing a lot on jingles and I had been singing with Tufano and Giammarese on lead half the time, so I had sort of put the lead guitar down back in 1970. So, we did it and we found out immediately that what people wanted to hear was those great songs again and they weren’t that concerned, as long as they had some originality in the band, they accepted it. So it kept building. We tried different band members back and forth and then in ‘85 we were offered the “Happy Together Tour” with the Turtles and the Grass Roots and Gary Lewis and Playboys, and that was the biggest tour that year; we played probably 200 cities over a period of 7 months.

MMM: Did I read that that Tour is going to be renewed this year or last year?

CG: Right, so what happened was last year, we went on to play and tour every year since. We would play 60/75 dates a year and having put a great band together, Nick and I. And it’s been a lot of fun and then last year we were offered the Happy Together Reunion Tour, the 25th Anniversary Tour. We didn’t make it anywhere near as long as the first tour, because we’re a lot older now, but I was still in my 30’s during that first tour. Anyway, all in all we played about 30 dates over the summer and it was with not only us, but with the Turtles, Grass Roots, Mickey Dolenz from the Monkees and Mark Lindsay from the Raiders. And it was very successful; it really was received well and we played a lot of nice venues and big venues. So they’re re-tapping it again this year. We will be out probably in July doing “Happy Together” dates.

MMM: Any stops in the Chicago land area?

CG: Well, to be honest I haven’t seen the schedule yet. I’m sure that there will be a Chicago land date. So along with that we’ll, of course, be playing with our band. Nick and I have a great rendition of The Buckinghams now, with Bruce Soboroff on keyboards and Dave Zane on guitar and Rocky Pennon drums, and Steve Frost with Carlo Isabelli on trumpet, and Rich Moore on sax and Chuck Morgan on trombone. Those guys have been working with us for a long time.

MMM: And for a group that actually started at an appliance store, you’ve also played a couple Inaugural balls, now haven’t you?

CG: Right, we played the last two, we played President Bush’s inaugural ball and more recently President Obama’s.

MMM: Wait a minute; you were hired by both the Republicans and Democrats?

CG: Yeah, we don’t show any preference here.

MMM: Maybe we should be sending you to Washington to get something done?

CG: Yeah, maybe I can create that bipartisan deal that we need so badly, you know…

MMM: Well I know the group has continued to record. In fact, I recently bought a copy of “Reaching Back,” which is, for our readers, a CD that blends both the new and old. It’s got some of the hits on there but it’s interesting that the new stuff sounds very much like very vintage Buckinghams. How are you able to achieve or recreate that sound on entirely new songs?

CG: I appreciate it, thank you. Well, that album was an act of love for me to put together because I produced it. We tried doing some things through the years. Back in ‘85, we created a sound on an album called, “A Matter of Time” that was very 80’s-sounding and that didn’t work out so well. Then we recorded with Nation Records in Chicago, Phil Vaughn’s label, we did an album called “Terra Firma,” which was real cutting edge. I thought a great sounding album - a little too maybe, eclectic, as far as the way the songs connected to one another because it was a bunch of tunes that Bruce Soborroff and I wrote at different periods of time. And it just wasn’t Buckinghams enough I guess, so then fans kept asking me, “Well why don’t you tap into that sound you guys had from the 60’s more?” I started thinking about it and I was like “well, I don’t know if I can go back to that”. And so then what I did was I started listening to and it had been years since I listened to “Time and Charges” and “Portraits” and those albums and, of course, I’ve certainly over a period of 40 yrs, become a much better musician and arranger and producer. I think you learn a lot over all those years, so I listened to all those albums and I’m going, “that’s how Guercio did it; this is what he did here and this is where he put this and this is what the arrangements were” and I locked in and pretty soon I found myself writing songs that were sort of in that bag, in that mode with the Buckingham sound, which was very progressive at the time. The horn arrangements, the string arrangements, it was almost symphonic, and some of it with the augmented and diminished chords and the way the chord changes and the voicing of the chords.

MMM: Well it’s a remarkable achievement to listen to entirely new music and be transported back to that Buckingham sound.

CG: Well, that was my idea, to create an album of new songs with going back through to that sound, but with new songs.

MMM: Well, Carl that CD “Reaching Back” and other CD’s that the group has are available on your website. Can you give us that please?

CG: Sure, www.thebuckinghams.com is our website and all our albums, “Reaching Back” and we’ve got the new “Up Close” CD/DVD and it’s both, of a show we did at the Star Plaza Theater not too long ago. It came out really great and, of course, our Christmas album is available and they are all available. We have a bunch of things and you can purchase them right off the website; everything is up on ITunes now and all the downloads, they’re there for us.

MMM: And there’s a Facebook page for The Buckinghams, I imagine?

CG: Right, we’ve got or Facebook page “Chicagosveryown Buckinghams”, “The Buckinghams”, and there’s a Carl Giammarese, Singer/Songwriter Facebook page also. Hey, you know, we’re cutting edge!

MMM: From appliance store to White House, that’s a pretty amazing ride, hasn’t it been?

CG: It sure has and you talk about that ride from the appliance store to where we are now, I’ve been writing a book with a really great writer, Dawn Lee Wakefield. She and I are co-writing an autobiography. We’ve been working on it for 3 years and hope to have it done before summer this year. And it’s just reconnecting with so many people that we’ve interviewed through my career and it should be a really fun book, really interesting, a lot of insight into the business and things we’ve done - some funny stuff. So I’m excited about getting that out there, too.

MMM: That is exciting. That will be a lot of fun to read. Well, tell us what can folks attending the concert on March 2nd look forward to?

CG: Well, we always do a pretty high energy, exciting show, I think. And it’s not only can you guys expect to hear all our hits and maybe some of the album cuts too, but we like to cover a lot of material that were on the charts with us back in the 60’s. So we may do a medley tribute to the “Solid Gold 60’s Tour” that we did with the Turtles & the Grass Roots and Tommy James and so forth. We will do that and cover some tunes. I love to sing like “The Worst That Could Happen”, a ballad, “Good Lovin’” we’ll do, too. It’s just the whole idea is to take a trip down memory lane for that period of time in the middle to late 60’s.

MMM: Are we going to get to hear some of the new songs as well?

CG: Yeah, we will do some of the songs from “Reaching Back”. We’ll probably do “We Were Living a Dream” off there. I don’t know what else; we haven’t made up the set list. You know, Nick likes to sing “Expressway” and “Domino”, the old Van Morrison tune and, of course, we like to joke around and kid around with the audience, too. We always have a good time. Its pretty high energy, you know. We have a good time. By the time we’re done, everybody should really be taken back to that time period and hopefully some really good memories.

MMM: Well that’s great, I know I’m looking forward to it and last time I checked, there were a few seats still available, so buy your tickets folks and Carl, thanks so much for joining us today, we all look forward to it.

CG: Oh you’re welcome and I’m always happy to do it.

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