RR: Well it is my pleasure to talk to, to have this oppurtunity to talk to professor Richard Evans. Who is a comtemporary of mine in the comtemporary writing department here at Berklee College. Richard has had a very long and varied extensive career as a writer, musician, uh.. arranger and producer and now an educator.
RR: And That i'll start off by asking Richard, give us a little bit of your background. I know you were born in Alabama, you moved to Chicago, but give us a little bit of the early beginnings for Richard Evans.
RE: Well Ok they tell me, I don't remember it, but I was born in December in 1932. It was very close to the end of year so I get to be a year younger than a year older since there's only one or two days....let's see....Birmingham, Alabama. My birth father was named Malista Cowan and I had that name at first, but when my mother brought me to chicago in 1938 when I was five then I took on the name of my step dad James Evans. My whole thing is Richard Leed Cowan Evans
RR: Richard Lee Cowan Evans
RE: Its what I go by
RR: So you moved you to Chicago at around what age?
RE: I was five. 1938.
RR: Well lets get right to it, i'm so inquisitive to find out where did the musical beginning start? Who inspired you?
RE: That is something else, because I remember about '38 or '39 my brother Claude who is five years older than myself. He took me to see a movie, it had Louis Armstrong in it, and he had to play the buffoon roles in the movies in those days. He was singing to a horse and he was singing "Jeepers creepers, where'd ya get those peepers?" And for some reason I remembered the song and when we came back home, my grandfather had a piano there, I went to the piano and I played the melody that we had heard. That was about the extent of any music stuff. I didn't study music at all as a kid. I was more into art. As the years went on, I remembered when I was nine and ten I'd get out with the kids on the block and we would be singing. At that time my favorite singer was Ben Crosby. Then a young whippersnapper named Frank Sinatra came up, all the girls were swooning on him, but I always liked Ben Crosby. Whatever songs that were happening then in the 30's and stuff like that, thats what I would listen to. But when WWII broke out I was about 30 days from being nine years old, I was about still eight. Some people started moving up from the south, and where we lived in Chicago was like a kitchenette thing. The people that moved above us were from Mississippi and they had got their first record player thing. At night they would play all kind of stuff. The first time I heard "Blues in the Night'' and a bunch of songs were from these people. We were listening to Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington as far as our music, but the people from Mississippi they came up and brought another kind of music. We thought it was a little raw, but it was ok. We would listen to the Inkspots and all the groups like that. Then the blues came up and that was horrible to us kind of a thing. The influx of the people white and black coming up from the south, their music came up to Chicago. We got listening to more Gospel, although I went to church with my grandmother at a Baptist Church. I saw the ritual of the preacher and all that, how they went through the ritual, I grew up with that for the first five years. It would start out with you know like him talking like "oh people were here and god and bless" and about five minutes later he's shouting! doing this thing and the piano player is playing and the organ player. He says something and the organ hits something. So the whole ritual of the church thing, I've always enjoyed that. That was pretty much it. I thought I could sing until I hit about twenty and I realized I couldn't, but we would get out and we'd sing stuff and so forth. I remember when I moved from the inner city of Chicago at 45th street and I moved out to, was then a suburb for Princeton Park, there I went to the Gillespie Grammar School. We had a chance to sing, we were singing harmony with this girl that was in class and they had us sing. It was that I would sing harmony with here, I could do that kind of stuff, my ear let me do it. As far as practicing music or playing piano or playing anything, no, no music.
RR: no music huh?
RE: No none what so ever. I didn't decided to become a musician until age sixteen when my brother, who was in Guam then, wrote me a letter and said I should become a musician. So my brother was my hero. Thats what he wanted me to do so I started taking music in high school in Disalvo. And I decided "Well let me see I can't be a musician, but thats my brother he wants me to do that, so I'll be a musican but I really am not but people won't know it so I think i'll play bass, that's quieter."
RR: it's quieter? uh huh.
RE: "and they won't hear what I'm doing and realize I'm not a musician", you know... So I took up bass, very fortunate thing cause I was workin' when everybody else was starving. heh.
RR: and you said your brother is really the one who got you your first bass?
RE: Yeah, my brother... you know how your.. if you copy your older siblings, my brother was drawing pictures..
RE: and so whatever he did i'd do. So I.. but he didn't do any music, he didn't play any music instruments that's why I never did it. But as far as um.. his drawing stuff, then I could do that, my mother could draw she could really great artist, and he, I'd see him drawing like superman and stuff like that. So, I decided to draw and I decided to follow a career of painting... so I was going to be an artist, that's the route I chose.
RE: When I got to Dusalvo high school and my teacher, our teacher Mrs. Switzer, god rest her soul, uh.. there was a janitor that came up to our class and an african american janitor and he was elderly and he was saying he had a dream of heaven, and it was like he pictured people walking up some stairs into the clouds and they went up to this big room floating up in the clouds that looked like a uh... uh... where there was a jury and a judge and stuff, and you walk in there and then other people are sitting there waiting and they were waiting to be judged. And they had elevators so one after they were judged the elevator went up and the other went down, it depended on the situation.
RE: So I painted a picture like that it was kinda regular sized and the teacher said "why don't you paint a real big picture of it" so I did. So, unbeknownst to me she entered it into the Chicago high school painting contest thing. in the mean time I was uh.. I had uh... rough teenage thing. I was only interested in art, I didn't like botany and algebra, forget about it.
RR: mmm, mmhmm
RE: you know I did poorly really cause I wasn't interested in it. So as a result when I reached age 16 I think that's the age here, some it's like 15, age 16. When I reached a certain age they told me well you can no longer be in school because your grades are too low and so we're gonna send you back to your district which was Calumet High School.
RE: out there in the suburbs where I was. Now Calument High was divert to second, Calument High School was about 95-99% white. We were the first black kids to come in there from... um beceause we were into the projects then we became of age. So I was 14 in 1947 I went to that school umm Calumet High school and when it came to taking a language.. I chose to take German.
RR: German? did you have a lot of other choices?
RE: There was you know spanish, french, whatever.. I for one I liked German. and as a kid I never.. I didn't have a lot of contact with white poeple at all until I got to that school. But as far as I was concerned I didn't think that I um... well you supposed to.. you can't do this your not.. I was always taught that nobody was better than me and I was better than nobody. I just had that kind of pride, I was poor, you know I came up poor but I was not taught to be inferior or anything...
RE: So I was not I took German and when I walked into class everybody laughed at me 'cause I was the first and only black kid to take German.
RR: Right, Right..
RE: But I came out with a B and did quite well, so uh.. but I didn't like it because I was kind of shattered being.. the race stuff that came up. Althought I'm not blaming all white, there were some very nice white people I met there but there were some, some.. but I won't go into the negative. But when I had a chance to come back from Birmingham and go to high school, I wanted to go to Dusalvo because that in you know, back in the area where I first grew up. So, so when they kicked me out of Dusalvo and said you have to go back to Calumet and I went back to Calumet, for um.. about couple of weeks
RE: in that time that I was back it was.. I guess it was an italian teacher, little short man, I remember he was teaching us how to.. you know 4/4 4 beats in a measure and the 1/4 note is 4. and oh and he was explaining stuff and I finally.. a teacher explaining this stuff... I said oh so if that's the case then I went up to the board and said if I did this and I wrote some stuff in there I said then how would it sound? he says "oh" he says "non blong bling blang" whatever I wrote. I said "OH!!! thats how you do that huh?"
RE: hmmm so I kinda was thinking about the music thing on that. Then, my art teacher uh... came up with the fact that I had won first prize for painting for high schools for the city of Chicago and brought a whole lot of good pride to Disalvo and they had our picture on the sunday paper.. with the painting and everything and... wow so she went to the principle and asked if they'd let me back.. and they did they let me back into disalvo. When I came back from that point on I became an A student everything I did was top. I went back to botany, back to algebra back to everything made what was S then, it wasn't an A it was a S "superior"
RR: Superior, uh huh.
RE: So I got S's from that point on from the rest of high school. My brother told me when I went to the army to try to score as best as I could which I did and I was one of the six guys they called out of the whole company to become officers.
RR: You did tell me at one point that at that umm it was some of those skills you're art skills that emphasis on precision and so on that was very very helpful for you in umm...
RE: In the service....
RR: In the service! can you talk a little bit about that?
RE: When I was... when I went, I was drafted when I became 20 years old in 1952, December. I was then..."congratulations now you're drafted" so I went in on Friday February the 13th, 1953 look on the calendar youll see that was it... and I went on that day and the recruit, you know that come in to the army and at that time the Korean war was raging and so when I went in they assigned me to become infantry 16 weeks basic training...
RE: Infantry, so I got in that and um... but I was playing bass then you know I had played bass in high school and I met a guy there whos name was Bob Kranshaw...
RR: Oh, was?...
RE: and he was a few months older than myself so he was on his way to Korea and I was just coming...
RE: from basic training, so we um, met "Hey man, whas.. how you doin?...blah blah blah" "ah, you play Bass?" - "Yeah.." Well, he's from Evanston, - I'm from Chicago, sorta right next door.
RR: mm hmm.
RE:I Says, "Well who's your favorite bassist?" - " He says "Ray Brown!" - I said " My man! " Ray Brown, I said " Do you know that thing he put out called song of the rowboatman?" - He said "Yeah! -Bidopebopebeeboaaam!" It was a three minute record he put out it was a bass solo. I said " You notice there were two basses there!" - I said " Then let's play it!" - So we did the "dee doom doom doom (singing) doom doom ding, ding doom beep-boom!" and we knew every note, and we both
RE: played a duet on it, so we became friends for life at that particular thing. But he shipped on out to ah, He shipped on out to Korea, and I started my Basic Training ruffly around March 1st, of 53. March -April, I was gonna go through, but Stalin of Russia conveniently died sometime in April, sometime in the spring,- the war was Halted. So therefore we had to change stuff, so my being an infantry guy, you know they, looked at my record and everything. They wanted me to become an officer, but I asked them what I had to do, They told me you have to reinlist. Because I was US it's they draft you,
RR: umm hmm
RE: Uh enlist, "You mean I have to do more?" and I says no no I won't do that. So they sent me to headquarters and asked me you know " Well what else do you wanna do now that the war has been called down? You know -now not going over to fight?" I said " - and they looked at my IQ thing, and it was pretty high, well I said, I'm a musician. I wanna play Bass" they said well you can't march with that Bass? Well I said to him... I thought I said, but this guy just said.. to come in and was playing piano, he shure as heck can't march with that piano." But okay cool, so I said what to do then? - I went back to head quarters. I said " Well I'm an artist I do that." They said "Well okay we'll give you an MOS -Military Occupation Specialist." 2296. Illustrator. So I went to a school, in which you had to do 8 weeks training, how you draw, you know like posters and stuff. You know you'd a do posters, and how to do the correct lettering and stuff like that. I hate to bring in the negative stuff, but this liutenant that was running this stuff when I , when I cam in for my interview with him, and ... "Richard Evans here?" - " yeah well," he says "Okay you're the second Negro to come here, the first one didn't last but 3 weeks," "I think that's a nice howdy doody coming in?"
RR: yeah mm hmm
RE: So I said okay sir "I'll do my best" So I went on, they didn't teach me diddly. They taught me nothing, and I just went through you know, and I just take the garbage out every sunday. They gave me nothing. And then finally I went back to headquarters and I said " Look I'm not learning anything and they're not teaching me anything there," and I said ah " my wife she told me well if you have to complete the whole 8 weeks, you can't just leave its.. at the end of eight months you come back and if you don't make it you know we're gonna have to figure something else. So I said okay, so I went back. But, - So I went back, but strangely enough. This was the second liutenant. The first Liutenant was the one that told me that other stuff. The second liutenant his name was Lorenzen, and I remember the names of the good guys.
RE:And he says "Evans, I tell you what." - "Something was gonna happen, - So there was as guy he was a soldier in the ...doin the thing. He was from San Fransisco, and he came and said "Look, in .. when your work here, you're here all day.'"Wait till everybody leaves, they leave at 5 oclock." When they leave here, you and I'll get together and I wanna show you stuff."
RE:"But you have to promise me this. Don't let anybody know I'm teaching you." I said okay" Then he would show up and show me the lettering, and you know you'd do this (mimics drawing)' you know "Thick lettering here and the blah and the boom, and the posters and the..blah.. and all this stuff I was supposed to know, he showed me, and then, The first Liutenant who told me about being the second negro there, they sent him to Germany. I thought maybe it was my luck but it could have been that they were trying to integrate the army then.
RR: mm hmm
RE: And anybody who was you know up on it, they sent him on to Germany. Then the second Liutenant ah Lorenzen took over, and says "Evans you know we really know what you been goin through here, but you're gonna come outta here with an E excellent." And so I came out with that and then I wound up having my own building with a couple people under me, and
RR: oh cool
RE:and I was doing the illustrative drawings. If you wanted a BAR aiming or something drawn up, blown up I can look in the manual had a drafting machine; I had to teach myself drafting right quick. and I could blow it up any size you want
RR: mmm hmm
RE:And I could be in the Manual, bring up that aiming sight or whatever, I went to a school where we were teaching non-coms
RR: mm hmm
RE:uh non commisioned officers, aI had to do the illustrations that the teachers needed, so that's what I wound up doin. So in other words the art is savin my buns. I didn't have the will to fight. I uh.. Crenshaw went, he had it cause he was at the end of his training, and he got over there he said that "The guy was shooting officers, and the
RE:and the officers there that they put him ..being a .. he wasn't a seargent.. he was like a corporal or something... they put him in leadership of the
...the group he was with, and he had to tell em "Hey man I'm not an officer so don't be ... you know.. " He said he was determined not to die the last month of the war.
RE:So he said that there was a password that you had to use if you don't I'm gonna lob a grenade at ya.
RR: uh huh
RE:So they started calling him Grenade.. ah you know a nickname with Grenade in there. You know cause he didn't have the password he'd .. jboom!
RE: he'd throw a grenade boom and they'd be ..."Hey man!" so oh well " I told you to say the password!
RR: password. But,, .. So you got out in 1955?
RE: Ninteen Fifty Five! -
RR: and moved back to Chicago?
RE: Yeah I came back to Chicago I was working at...before I left as a stockroom boy.
RR: mmhmm and how did you make that transition to becoming a professional musician?
RE: Well, I was playing bass then and everything play a little gig here or there mostly I was people liked me for arranging. I would arrange stuff.
RE: I went back to carson perry scott, you were making a dollar an hour... and in 1952 was when I was there before. a dollar an hour you made 40 dollars a week and after taxes, you got 35 dollars or so... but you could catch the you could get on the street car for 8 cents then..
RE: they had a guy in the front and a guy in the back, and you'd get on there and pay 8cents and you know.. the guys driving didn't collect the guy in the back did you know... and so I'm just saying that money was umm...
RR: it's more relative
RE: relative situation
RR: to what the cost of living was
RE: but when I came back I was in housewares in '52 but they put me in ladies dresses, you know where they had to go in the little rooms to dress.. and I'd say well I started that I guess about march or somthing of that year, back to Carson Perry Scott but the July the fourth independence day, I can remember stuff um.. I said "today is independence" I'm gonna be independent of all this working in the stock room and I will quit. "oh well we..." "No, i'm outta here, and I will be a musican from this point on I'll be a bass player and wherever that takes me I'm going..." so I stopped working and I started playing. You know working in the store...
RR: In the store.. yeah
RE: and I started playing bass and I never looked back.
RR: And who were or some of the... or who were some of the first people that you started working with?
RE: Well, let me... let me mention my really best friend Eddie Harris..
RR: Eddie Harris.
RE: I met him in Dusalvo in 19... oh 1940... 1947... a no 1949 or something like that
RE: And he was playing clarinet but he switched over to tenor and I met him there and we became very good friends. Um... and I watched him develop stuff.. uh... but um... let me see uh...I'm sorry what was your question? I lost it....
RR: I'm just... just kind of getting you to talk a little bit about... getting you to teach us a little bit about how you made that transition coming back from Korea in '55
RE: We were coming back from California, I didn't go to Korea..
RR: Oh, you didn't go to Korea at all?
RE: Yeah, I went to fort Carson Colarado
RR: ok, so you got back home and you said you started working as a... like as a security guard?
RE: Well, no, no. When I uh... lemme see when I got out the army I started working Carson, Perry, Scott... it's a clothing store.
RE: I mean it was just a store at State and Madison.
RE: and then I started there, but then I left there on July the 4th, 1955 and from that point on I became a musician. The first uh.. person I worked with I joined his band in 19 uh... oh it was about uh... lemme see, about July 1955 was Sun Ra
RR: Sun Ra?
RE: I joined his band I played bass with him
RE: and then I stayed with him but he's the kinda guy that wanted to get into your business and uh... uh.. you know all the guys like the Govenors father, Pat Patrick was playing uh.. alto and baritone with the band then thats when I met the Governors father.
RR: yeah mmhmm
RE: and he helped me about arranging and doing stuff... beautiful guy. Pat Patrick, he was... but he was dedicated to Sun Ra and the (inaudible) it was all the guys, John and all the guys that was in the band they were kind of dedicated to Sun Ra because he had a movement that was gonna shake the world and he was from the planet Saturn...
RR: Yes... yeah.
RE: and he came here to help save the earth.
RR: mmhmm.. mmhmm
RE: And these guys he was a guy who was slight of hand, he could do stuff with.. that would cause little tricks and all that. And the guys were like afraid of him they would... he would say uh.."John come on over here did you do that arrangement I told you?" 'well no sun I had to' "Listen you have the arrangement over here by tomorrow or your mother will be arrested." 'oh!! ok Sun Ra' That's the kind of scene that was. Now having come from a fairly controlling stepfather I didn't need another father, So I couldn't stay with the... Well I did he was having a concert, so I used my skills of drawing...
RE: and I drew saxophones and things on a poster and it said Sun Ra: Concert on October the so and so.
RE: and it took me about a week to do it. When I brought it to him and he and the guys laughed "ahahahahah" "we don't play Jazz we play dazz" D A Z Z so that's what I got? a laugh I worked a week on this and this caused you to be laughing? Ok, I'm outa here so I left that and uh... then I got with King Colax, trumpet player..
RE: Beautiful trumpet player, I mean the guy he was an older fella' and he played trumpet and everything.. and then I made the mistake of going to the movies with his young girlfriend, I wasn't hittin' on her or nothin' you know I respected.. you know but she.. there was a movie she wanted to see at the regal. "Oh you wanna see that movie?" 'Yeah hey! let's go!' boom went there and he thought that was... got the wrong opinion you know he started.. it was strained. so I said ohhh man so then uh... I got.. Eddie Shamly came uh.. the next year in 1956 and wanted me to join Lionel Hamptons band. I said ok and joined his band, but Lionel Hampton wanted me to play uh.. electric guitar
RE: and I didn't like that I liked the upright
RE: but I went on to satisfy him and uh.. I stayed with him from uh.. I went over through all of America he was a republican and we had to go and play for the inaugural for uh.. the second run for President Eisenhower all through Washington D.C. and everything
RR: mmmhmm mmhmmm
RE: we flew there on a plane that was owned by a friend of Eisenhower you know? from the west coast all the way to New York in 1956 that's when they had that. And we played and we then went to Europe 1956 all of not dominated by the russians... the soviets places um... uh.. that was west, west europe. Uh.. Sweeden, Denmark, you name it we went through there. We went through France but we didn't play anywhere. We played mostly in German... Germany
RE: and we went through France haha
RR: and spoke the language eh?
RE: well what I did being a smart alec, I wanted to impress... Slide, Hampton and I were uh.. in Hamburg and we wanted to go to uh.. back to Berlin.
RR: umm mhmm -
RE: cause everybody else went but we hung there, and so I went up to a German Gentleman and I said " Bitta Voy Nich te Flu Hoffen?" - Like where is the airport?" and said well bla bla bl... he coulda said " Up yours! buddy!" - I wouldn't have known.
RE: "Gute Danka!" "Danka Shein" Danka.. you know so he said "What'd he say. I said " I don't know.. hahaha I just knew enough to be a dummy you know.. well I retained some of the German stuff. I watch ah.. things where people are supposed to be speaking in Germany. ' and they'll say "Ich... that means I" - Ich this and Ich that I said no cause it's supposed to be Isch!" (sounds) Isch, those are the finer points I learned about the language. I always like it
RR: uh huh
RE: Especially after you hear normal part of German. .. It's a very precise.. like if you were trying to build something. English came from Germany, German ... first and then English came from it. There are words that are similar and so forth. They go around the corner adding words.. they add words to say one thing .. it just builds out. It's very interesting. But anyway we went to Germany and ah England, of course went through England and Scotland, Germany and France. .they didn't let us stay there. We went to Paris but they didn't let us stay in Paris, cause they figured a lot of us wouldn't make the boat, so we went to Le Harve, H A R V E .. Le Harver.. or whatever it's called. And we stayed there, and I realized that French people were very nasty uh, to you if you didn't speak French, but we had a guy in the Band, Oscar Bernard, who was a Genius.. piano player, and he spoke 5 languages, and spoke French so well that people would sai Misuer are you from Paris? - No he was from down south in Florida
RR: mm hmm
RE: But he just mastered those languages you know.
RR: mmm hmm
RE: So that's how we got served you know, he know how to ask this stuff.
RR: So you know playing bass on the road and working with a couple of significant um aritst at the time, so that kind of captures one chapter or a couple of chapters of your career, .. um.. talk to me a little bit about that switch to becoming more of an arranger.
RR: a producer as well
RE: The arranging thing came into being in 1961 ah .. my first marriage I had was breakin up kinda of a thing, and .. Paul Winter got in touch with me.. said man we are gonna go to South America for president Kennedy,
RR: mm hmm
RE: With the Peace Corps he has such a thing called cultural exchange, but we'll go around and play in colleges there and they will exchange and send people up here to play colleges, - I was about 29 years old, then and then
RE: So he says "No man you're a good arranger man and could you do some arrangements, arrangements for him, so I said yeah, and I did about 4 things for him. " So I went down to his.. he had a place down in the basement in Chicago, not too far from where you see the Chicago river and the big clock and the building..
RR: mmm hmm
RE: and so I went there to play but the bass player wasn't there but we'd .. he had the trumpet player Dick Whistle, and he was playing Alto, and had man main man Baritone, Les.. Les, but he was playing Baritone, and then you had Warren Burnhardt on the piano, and ahh.. ..Jones, Harold Jones on drums. Man what a group.And so but the bass player was not there, and they said would you do us a favor and play .. he's a bass player and doesn't show up, would you play bass or .. s.. well so "sure" I played bass on my arrangements, and well he said okay very good. - and they said do us another favor" I said " What's that?" "Well could you play bass on some of these other charts. They're not your charts but just .one.. " "Okay well I'll .. I'll play bass on em .. I said okay, thanks a lot. " I went on back to the hotel while I was there, and got a call. " Hey man we want you to come to South America with us, playing bass. "I'm going .. well you know I thought you ahd.. ""Well you know he didn't show up anyway," and so I said "Well I don't wanna take the mans gig! " "No that's alright we were gonna fire him anyway, had a career getting gigs from other people, that I didn't wanna take the guys gig, but they ..no ..man you're much better, but I said I don't think so, cause I'm goin through a break up here, and ah.. I'd need to be here, So they got John Hammond to call me.. He says "Rich! - gruff ..junt? "If you ah go with them. I'll tell you what I'll do I'll give you 6000 dollars just for arranging for them, and .. your job would be the bass player and to arrange some music. So I said.. okay then, I'll go.. so I went on with them, and we went to .. we went in New York. and in January of 62, and we saw Ella Fitzgerald, who had been Mason Street east who had been in an operation and stuff and she had laryngitis, and she was trying to sing but the laryngitis had her and it was the best performance I ever saw because you know she wanted to hit that note but she had another note she hit
RR: Yeah, Yeah
RE: And it was like.. just as good and to see that genius of a singer, singing and having this block on her...
RE: And doing so well with it uh... it was just a lesson in what to do when things don't go right.
RR: Exactly, exactly!.....
RE: So we saw that and then we left there in about February, New York we went to Haiti we didn't have good relations with the dominican republic at that time so I didn't go there but went to Haiti and did our first thing there... I stupidly put my bass in bagage and they gave it to me in two parts! when we got to Haiti, here's the neck and heres the rest of the stuff.
RR: And I guess in those days we didn't have these travel cases?
RE: oh you know like ... well if they had it I didn't know it.
RE: So I got a new one and they gave me a new bass that had a little curvature in it, in the neck. And um.. the state department gave it to me so I kept that but I always flew it on the plane from that point on... we went to every... and when we left Haiti we came back and we went to Mexico and we went all the way down the Central America all of the countries... in Central America.. in Panama and when we left there we went to South America and we went down the west coast of South America all the way down. In June, that was February when we started, by June we went to Monte Viejo which is the southern tip and in Buenos Aires, and that was in June, which is in winter. And we didn't bring the correct clothing, so we had to buy some clothes. And we came into Brazil and we spent close to a month in Brazil. And then we came home back in July, so we spent all that time--I managed to pick up basic Spanish, but by the time we got to Brazil we had to start all over again with Portugese and that was another language, but we went all the way--but that's when I did all the arrangements for them. We did a recording in Brazil, partly in Brazil and partly in New York, 'cause 'Jazz Meets the Bossa Nova', that had all of the six guys. There was three white guys and three black guys, the only reason I mention that anymore is because in 1962 there was still segregation and we went to Florida...uh, Paul...The Beatles had somebody that they were married to there and so he kind of hung with them and Warren Barnhard, he went somewhere, but Dick Whitsle, trumpet player, a real good looking guy, he was white and he wanted to stay with us. So we went to motel there and the lady said there, "Well, we can take you guys but we can't take him." "Why?" "'Cause he's white." "White!? Man, his grandmother was black." How do you know, you got this stupid racial stuff. You've got people that look like they're white, all of them got to be black because they got somebody way 200 years ago that was black, so they're still black. "Hey man, he's black." "Okay." So they took him on in because they didn't--What the hell, they wouldn't know... But anyway, we went to a jam session that night and there were some guys that saw Dick--that was in Miami--they saw Dick and tried to mess with him and the rest of the guys, you know, me and Harold and Les Route, that was his name. We said, "Is there a problem here?" "No, man we cool. Leave him alone, he's with us." Kind of a thing. So we went--and when we get to a new country like Haiti, there were three races: there was three white guys, two black guys, Les and M...(indecipherable) and then Harold Jones was very fair. And they called him a melato. That that three races thing. So he was pissed about that. Well, anyway, we did--we went through some couple of scary things around there 'cause we had communists try to block one of our concerts in Argentina. And what they'd do to me--what we'd be down there--we'd have like meetings with (indecipherable) colleges and you had to they guys that would say, "Well, you know, we understand that jazz was created by black people and so what are you white people doing here?" So I had to explain to them jazz is not exculsively a black thing. They don't play jazz in Africa, generally speaking. It is something that had to be two cultures: African culture and the European culture getting together and blending in such a way as the jazz came from there. So therefore it is not the colour that lets you play jazz it's where you've been hanging. Now I've noticed that Stan Getz here, I did an album that I arranged and prod--well, Esmond Edwards produced the album, but I did the arrangements of the whole album. It was called "What the World Needs Now" and it was Stan Getz playing Bacharach. And I did that in 1967 and it was my first, "Woah!" doing it for this kind of side. But it was a pretty good album. Stan Getz the horn he played the session on is downstairs.
RR: Oh that's the one we have here. Did any of those recordings with Paul Winter, did he record any--'cause I think he started writing, composing...
RE: No, we did 'Jazz Meets the Bossa Nova".
RR: And he started composing. We talked about going to Brazil and also Recife
RE: Oh, I composed a thing called 'Journey to Recife.' And I did it...
RR: Montevideo, as well, right?
RE: A bunch of things, Ahmad Jamal did some as well. 'Journey to Recife' was precious to me 'cause I wrote it for Les Rout, baritone player, and I wrote it in Eb, because he had an Eb baritone and that puts him in the key of C and it just makes it real easy for him to an ad lib--not that he needed a key change--but that's the reason I did it. So we recorded that and lets say it was either the first or second tune on the album, but we had a guy named Gene Lees, who was a Canadian. He was a jazz writer, but he was supposed to be the guy taking care of or travel, our travel agent. He mentioned nothing about the album whatsoever, about that it was done for Les, by me, or nothing. It was only thing but he... So I saw that, and then I saw that he was real tight with Bill Evans. He thought that Bill was the greatest thing since sliced bread. And it turns out that when I got here in 1968, I'm sorry 1985, that I looked at to so-called 'Real Book' and I said, "Let me see if they got any of my stuff." I looked in there, 'Journey to Recife' by Bill Evans. And I'm going, "What?" Oh, well that's stupid.
RR: Same melody.
RE: No, no, it's my song. But he had the wrong chords in places. But it's 'Bill Evans' and I'm going, "Well, now wait a minute, how can that be?" But it's the Real Book, they don't pay royalties, they are all legitimate so I said, "The heck with it." But later I found out that the record company--the publishing company--somebody in the publishing company, I gave it to a guy named Norman Gimble. And some reason between Norman Gimble and Bill Lees, who were partners, liking......this guy, somehow or another--I understand that Bill Evans was on drugs. He didn't know one thing or another. They somehow got my song over to him, and if you were to look on the internet you'll see 'Turn to Recife, Bill Evans'. You can get the score and you can get this and that. He is getting the money from my tune. So I brought it up with the record company and he's saying, "Well, I don't know." Then I said, "Can you show me my signature for having joined your...?" "Well, your song is not important enough for us to even bother with it," he tells me. So I go get a lawyer to deal with it. So that's going on there. But that's some of the things--but the album was pretty good, the songs by everybody, I had about three or four in there. After we finished that thing then, 'cause John (the guy that talked me into going there) promised me not only for the $6000 but also that when I come back he would introduce me to George Avakian, producers and stuff, so I could begin producing stuff. Also, he had me to join Ahmad Jamal's trio. So I became Ahmad Jamal's bass player from the fall of 1962-64.
RE: For a couple of years I was his bass player, thanks to John Hammon. So that's how that turned out. And Ahmad Jamal said, "So you did arranging and stuff, how would you like to do a whole album?" I said, "Of course!" So I did a whole album thanks to Ahmad Jamal and he played on all the different songs, all of them my tunes.
RR: And you were the bass player on that as well.
RE: No I did not play bass, I used a guy named Art Davis I think it was, because I wanted to make sure I was conducting it. But when I was in Haiti, what happened there you go and they got a tv station, at that time 62', and they said ".....is here, lets hear it!" So they stopped the movie, we play about half hour or so, and then "Thank you very much" and they started the movie again that they were just using. But on the way back from that there were some guys on a porch. We were driving a car and the car stopped for something and there were some guys, they were going "ta da ta da" you know like a triplet you got "Da da da Da da da Da da da Da" They left the one out on it, so you got "pa da pa da pa da pa da pa da pa da pa da pa " So I said "Wow, that's wonderful." I wrote that down. So I put out a record called "Haitian Marketplace" by Ahmad Jamal. Its like a blues and its got the "da da da da da da." I did that. I wrote stuff for Montivideo, for Journey to Recife. Just different places, Bossa Nova Do Marilla they had kinda a huge Japanese population I think in that particular town. And so I wrote a whole bunch of stuff, arranged a whole bunch of stuff, so much of which when we got back to the states; although we kinda got into trouble for some stuff, we got a big ole bag of oranges and as we travelled from one place to another that was in a very poor nation, we would lobbing oranges at the steer and the word got around so we kinda got chewed out for doing that. But once we got back it was deemed a successful trip and so we were the first jazz group to play in the White House, the first. We met Jackie Kennedy. We did not meet the president because he was down with the Cubans during the missile crisis in 1962. It was in october/november something that we went to the White House and we played jazz, in the Easter Room. Its a wonderful thing but it was a heck of a band place to play because the sound was bouncing all over, but it was very successful. We met Jackie, she was at a receiving table and we all went up and she was there shaking our hands "Oh pleased to meet you, thank you very much." Dick Whistle, ahhhh that guy was something else, he's passed away. He was a young handsome dude that played trumpet. But he would have a sense of humor that was crazy, so when he gets up to Jackie Kennedy he says "Its a pleasure to meet you" and he goes out to shake her hand, he wouldn't let her hand go! I'm right behind him. He said "Are you sure you really" and the secret service is kinda like and he won't let her hand go, I said "Man! let her hand go man." So he did finally and about chewed him out "Man are you crazy?!" Because I remember when I got to the White House I had my bass, they had a limo pick us up from the airport, and somebody carried the bass and I said "Oh I forgot my bowl!" So then I went back to get my bowl and some guy stepped from behind a tree and said "Who are you?" and I said "My name is Richard..." "What are you doing here?" "Well I came to play" he says "Well then you better get on there then." Yeah they didn't play any, even then.
RR: Lets talk a little bit again this is another chapter of your career, this very distinguished career, is Chess Records which is Cadet Records really...
RE: Well Chess Records was the big main thing and they had the jazz label, they had a different name when they first branched out, then they branched out to Cadet Records. Now, I always got something strange to say, you ask me a question I have to go...I was working bass at the London House which is the best gig in the world. Eddie Higgins was playing piano, Marsha Thompson who used to be where a dancer with peck and peck it was called, he's playing drums. His time, you could set your watch on his time you know it was so beautiful. It was a great gig I was enjoying, it was a very good. There was an African American man who brought type to the building. It was a stone container building that it was in. In those days they had to bring their type in. I remember he was a pigeon nosed fellow, kinda stout. But he spoke polish with the polish ladies that worked in there. It was a big huge polish presence there in Chicago. One day after knowing him for a few months he came to me and said "Richard, you know I have the ability to tell stuff about people." And he says "I have a strong impression about something about you and if you don't mind I'd like to discuss it with you." I said "well yeah i'm not going to die or something." So he says "You won't be working here at the London House much longer." I said "Really?". "No you're going to be offered a new career, and you're going to leave here. I see you in a room, you're in a room with five white guys, one with a bald head that you're facing. He's smoking a cigar and I can see the smoke coming up and everything. They're going to offer something you won't be able to refuse it." I said "Ok well thanks." About a couple weeks later I got a call by Leonard Chess. They wanted to have a meeting with them and somebody said "I think they may want some producer there, If they ask for that and you don't want it, I'll do it." I said "Well you know whatever." I go to Chess, sit down, and they're saying "Well you've done a lot of arranging for us, you did Ramsey Lewis "Wade in the Water", you had so many hits, Kenny Burrell "Have Yourself a Soulful Little Christmas." A thing I did called "Soulero" or something like that, it was like bolero with soul. That was a big hit for him. Hit after Hit. So they said Ezmund is leaving, he's going to Verde Records and we'd like for you to take his place as the executive producer of Cadet Records. So I said "Producer? Well I dont know i'm an arranger, I'm used to that but uh producer I dont know if I want to do that." Joe Seagal said that if you want a producer he'd like to take the gig. And Leonard Chess "If we wanted Joe Seagal, we would've called him." So I said "Ok." $20,000 then was pretty good money then, a year. So I said "Well with Ahmad Jamal I made about close to $20,000 last year, if you want me to come work here could I maybe get 25?" Leonard Chess says "Hows 45?" I said "Well I'm your man then!" haha. I said "I'll have my lawyers call you tomorrow." So I got up and said "Wait a minute, five white guys, Dick LaPalm, Max Cooperstein, Leonard Chess's son and Dick...whats his name...over here. And then here's Leonard Chess's brother sitting across from me with the bald head, cigar, smoke rising above. And i'm thinking about this man describing this whole thing man. That's why I believe there are people who can tell the future, on what's going to happen. I just through that in. So I wound up being a producer of that. I could producer somebody, I could hire other producers. I could hire other arrangers. The idea of the Sober Spring was started by Desmond Edwards. It was his idea, and that was back in 65'. This was in 1967 that this happened. But about 65' Desmond Edwards says "Yo Richard what about starting a string group, maybe a quarter or string group that plays funky music or you know rock and all that." Now me being just starting had I been very stretched, I said "Well No we can't do that" I would've said "Because strings are kinda stiff, they don't get funky and all that." But me being Richard dumb dumb at the point, I said "Well yeah ok I'll tell you what we'll have this formula, if somebody that we are copying, if its a female we'll use violas to copy what she's sing, and if its a male we'll use cellos." So this Soulful String first album that was done had four cellos and two violas, no violins. It was a very dark sound. We used Charles Stiffing on Vibes, lets see then we had Phil Upchurch on some guitar and stuff like that. We did that thing and I thought "Man I don't like it" So I didnt listen to it at all. Desmond Edwards took it Leonard Chess's office and Leonard Chess cussed him out. "Get out!'' You know figuratively speaking. Then they released the album The Soulful Strings "Painted Black" was the title. It hung on the charts for 11 months. It was the longest selling thing they ever had. So then they had to do the Soulful Strings from that point on. I wound up doing all of them, about 7.
RR: 7 in all, yup.
RE: I think it was about 7, ending up with the Soulful Strings plays Gammond and Huff. That was the last thing we did, but that was a big item. I did Woodie Herman, they signed him with Dick LaPalm. He was a friend of Woodie Herman's. He wanted me to arrange for Woodie Herman, Big Band you know? "Ok I had never arranged.." Well I did for Lionel Hampton but not any album you know, so it kinda took a little while. Woodie kinda lost faith, "Oh I don't think he wants to arrange." I said "Yes I do I just want to make sure that its right." Because when they had a meeting to sign Woodie Herman, there was a vote. I was asked "Do you think you could get a hit with Woodie Herman?" I said, "I think I can." So Leonard Chess called me later on, "Why did you say that man? This is an aging old fade.'' I said, "Well I think that I can do it." He said, "Well all right but we're not going to pay a lot of money, how many men?" I said "Well I think he's got about 18 men." "Well, uh, ok um, you can do it but we're not going to pay her!" I said, "Ok i'll keep that in mind." So I wrote the tunes and everything, arranged the tunes and I met with these guys on an offside of Chicago at a hotel in their ballroom, and we rehearsed these songs. All of them, all 10 of them. And I said, "Ok guys, the guys are worrying about how much this is going to cost so what we'll do when we come to...." In those days they had 4 tracks, there were no 20 40 or 1000 tracks, 4 tracks. I used one for rhythm, one for brass, one for woodwinds and one for solos. It was kind of spread that way. A guy named Stew Black was the engineer. I said "When it came to do the thing..." They did it at Chess, they had a big studio. I mean Chess had a big studio there. I said, "Now we're not going to do this one tune by one, what we're going to do is we're going to do it like a concert. You guys are going to have to imagine that there's enough people out there listening and we're going to just go like you go into a concert, one and then do another. After having played this for about a month, then you're going to come in and we're going to do that. So they went through the whole thing. I had to do two things over, but they pretty much played it. In two and half hours they played the whole album.
RR: How many tracks?
RE: There was 10 tunes. They played them. But it was live I mean you know, everyone was playing it just enthusiastically. We put the thing out and then Leonard Chess passed away in October. He didn't have a chance to see it but the thing was a hit. It was a grammy nomination. I've had about 5 grammy nominations, winning one.
RR: Which one? the one that you won was for?
RE: Natalie Cole "Sophisticated Lady (She's a Different Lady)." It was such a hit in England that the BBC flew us , the whole band including myself, to England in 1969. Flew us there to talk to us about how we did the album and so forth. So it was real success thing for Chess Records.
RR: You can hear the excitement on some of those recordings. Sal, Mr. Cool.
RE: Ohhhh yeah. But see there wasn't a lot of solo power in the trumpets. We had Chase, the lead trumpet player, but lead trumpet players are not necessarily great soloists. So he wasn't the one given the solo, so I leaned on really Nester Cole to do most of it.
RR: Goodrich was also on one those sessions with, I read the liner notes. Even Donnie Hathaway.
RE: Well Donny Hathaway, I had him come in on a thing called "Catch that Bird" or something. It was some kind of tune he did and Woody said " Who is this?" I said this is Donnie Hathaway. "Well who is he?" And I said, "Well you don't know who he is now in 1967, but he is going to be real real big and I want him on my album."
RR: and He was
RE: So Donnie and I became very good friends, in fact we have a tune out called "Everything is Everything" that we co-wrote. I got a thing from the publishing company that day that said "You haven't signed this yet so you can get paid." I said "Ok." So it's three people splitting, Donnie, Phil Upchurch and myself. What happened was that I watched a TV thing called "The Voice is Inside." It was about people in prison and I was moved by this. So I wrote a thing for The Soulful Strings called "The Voice is Inside" and I called Donnie in to play on it. But I said "You know what I just don't have a bridge for this thing, Donnie could you give me a bridge?" He said "do bee do da bee ba doo be dopee do da" He did that and put that bridge on it. So I said "You guys, we split it." I was trying to be honest with the people and we split it 3 ways. It was my song to beging with but we split it down the middle. It was called "The Voices Inside." Then a couple of years after Donnie became famous he called me and said "You know "The Voices Inside" I'd like to rename it and put it on my album." So I said "What are you going to call it?" He said "Everything is Everything." I said "You got it." So thats how that tune....But I'm still getting checks on that thing. Thats part of how I got up in the air. I think I was just guided. Something happened in my life. I was thinking "I'm going to be an artist" but something "No, you're going to be a musician." "But i'm not a musician." "Yes you are!" haha.
RR: Talk a little bit about your whole process from taking--getting the material, or choosing the material, writing the songs, getting into the studio, you whole arranging process. I think it would be great for the students to hear how you work through those stages.
RE: Well, I can say, unfortunately, most of the stuff I did was before I got a Masters' degree in music. I was doing stuff from ear, from my ear and from my own--I never studied with anybody, my ear told me what to do. And I was telling the students the other day, if I was harmonizing something, "How can you harmonize this?" I call it a get-out-of-trouble chord.
RR: Get-out-of-trouble chord, huh?
RE: I would make it a diminished seventh chord, and what it is dominant seventh, flat nine--what I know now, it's a dominant seventh, flat nine. But I always knew, I mean, I could hear what to do and stuff. So I was doing all the arrangement, all those arrangings for Chess Records and all that, Stan Getz and blah, blah, blah, not having even studied anywhere. It's just makes sense that this should be it, you know? And so I am at a kind of a loss teaching because I came it by the spirit up above. I didn't go somewhere to study. But now I know that to study--there are some students that I get, that have the natural thing: Hiromi Uehara, whom I discovered and got a record deal back in 2001 and '02. She's got that kind of a natural thing, but to teach it is something else, 'cause you've got a chord--I was listening something your student did yesterday, and he put a root on top of a major seventh chord. I heard, you heard once I mentioned it, but it worked 'cause it wasn't there sitting, it just kind of grazed on a moved. The best--that's... So as a result, if someone wants me to arrange something--or a lot of experiences here at Berklee, the Singers' Showcase, somebody would give me a thing and says, "This here is in Eb, we want it in C. But there's no lead sheet, no chord sheet or nothing. So I put the...
RE: thang on, you wanna.. oh it's in Eb, - okay say, it's an Ebmaj 7 okay that's a Cmaj seven, I turn it to where it will sound like it's in the key I'm going to, and I just forget about that key, and .. I can .. I can hear a chord.- You give me three notes and I'll tell you what a six note chord is, which just three notes. -
RE: Cause when.. I could put the bass to it, and then I know what it is. - and ah.. So I try to teach my students that, I find out a lot of students do not .. they're not on chords, - chords.. really .. they got to know the chords in order to really see where they are. And ah , a lot of them .. bass I'm on they're cass. Poor students get in my class, they gotta know bass. How to walk a bass,
RR: Bass.. .. Going back to school for your masters degree?- You met her someone who had a relationship with someone here at Berklee who somehow was kinda responsible for getting you to Berklee.-
RE: That's right
RR: Dr. Warrick Carter, talk about um your relationship with him. He was moving to Berklee at the time.
RE: He was ah.. my Home teacher, and I .. well.. Less Route. - in 1974-75 he had me to come to Emerson, where.. to the college he was teaching, and he wanted me to um.. to ah .. let's go take an hour or so with this class. - I was wingin it. (mimicing a song and dance) - I was wingin it, and so ,, but the class was a whirlwind and they were just.. it was real good, but unbeknowst to me his chairmen was slipped in too, in the crowd,
RR: mm hmm
RE: So after I did that then he called me the next day and said Evans, how would you like to come and teach at ah Northwestern, and I said! - I'd love too he said well first do you have a master's degree. I said well know I have an associate of the arts degree, he says well, you could do it but we'd have to sign you up as an artist in residence, you wouldn't nessecarily have tenure or protection under your job. I said well what I have to do to get a hh.. " He said you gonna have to have a Master's degree. I said.. = I'm gonna do it. " So at age 42 I went back to school the GI bill, and went to um.. Back to college and um, they gave, it was supposed to be 4 years to do it, but they gave me a 4 year credit because having produced humongus albums before even coming. So I gott a year off and Warrick Carter was my home teacher.
RR: mm hmm
RE: and what happend was I got to do.. - near the end I got to do Peabo Bryson, for Capital records, so I did all my stuff, I put my strings on, I called my teacher, and said hey man would you do me a favor. Would you come in an conduct my strings for me cause I wanna play producer, I wanted to be up in there listening to stuff,
RR: in the booth yeah
RE: I don't wanna be there just listening to the strings, I wanna hear everything,
RR: mm hmm
RE: so he came and conducted the strings and all that, it was in the 77 i think, and we put the album on, and we put it out, in 6 months we released it it went gold,
RR: mm hmm
RE: so it was a big smash.- I bought a house in California with the money, 4 bedrooms, swimming pool, bla bla bla, 5 bedroom swimming pool. - So warrick didn't forget that, so in 1985, I had a heart attack the day of the .. it was March 20th I think it was, and ah.. as Im .. I was there until easter., and then they let me out in two weeks. And then he called me and then.. and "Says, hey Rich, how would you like?' - but I had gotten my masters degree back in 77-78, but I didn't try to go to teach there, well.. so he called me he says " Well how would you like to teach, .. teach where ?" he says Berklee. I'm thinking California.
RE: Berkeley California? - Okay? - "No not California,-! Boston." "Boston?!" You mean want me to leave California and come to Boston, ...tight knit, ruffy .. funny ass people, Boston?! - Oh man? - He said no you gotta come, it's right in the heart of Downtown, and bla bla bla Later I regretted that part of it, had it been on a campus you could always park here, you gotta pay.
RE: I said "Well I'm not to sure.. he says look " We'll fly you out, let you see what's happenin."
RR: mm hmm
RE: They fly me out there in June, and I had to .. went around here, and Barrie Nettles took me to lunch and that good stuff, and I liked that. " I said I don't wanna make it permanent." Maybe I'll do a year and see what happens. So- I did a first year from 19.. um .. I mean ..what ..1985 to 86, but they had the strike, and I told my lawyer, Estel Rayden, bless her heart, bless her soul, I asked her what' my situation here? Are they gonna strike, I don't .. ..I agreed with what they're striking for, you know.. I'm a union man, but what should I do. Well you cannot strike. - You cannot work with the strikers" I said why? she said because "They could fire you." When the strike is over they could fire you,
RR: mm hmm
RE: When the strike is over, they don't have to pick up your second year.
RR: you obviously had a different type of contract.
RE: yeah .. different kind of contract, so .. it .. you know So but I decided to stay on 26 years. Best job I ever had
RR: 26 years. yeah ..
RE: 26 years ago in 1985, .. and I'm glad I did that, because the arranging and all that was wonderful, but that dried up you know,
RR: yes yes.. So when you think about .. you've had a career as an arranger. You play.. a road warrior, you played on the road traveld all over the years. now you have over 25-26 years as an educator..what ..ah .. ..anything that you haven't done.. anything that you haven't done musically would still like to do ..
RE: I've always wanted to do a .. ah .. music for a movie,
RR: mm hhh yes..
RE: I never had the chance, I've always wanted to do that,
RR: mm hmm
RE: Cause I've seen people who were singers....got did movies.. they start looping the music.
RR: mm hmm
RE: there's one guy I can't think of his name but he was a singer.
RE: And they did, he did the music for it but they had a thing about a guy skiing down and the guy who was trying to shoot him and blah blah, but things kept looping, they kept looping and that's uh. And here's a guy that's going down the thing and the guy's firing at him and he's trying to duck and you'd think the music would be *sings action movie music* it's like *sings lyrical melody* because of course they had looped into this, into this. And I'm going "c'mon man" ya know. But that was one thing, musically that I had wanted to do. I wound up playing bass on Jamahl's, so it was most of the time I had somebody else playing bass on Jamahl's. So I've done about 7 albums with him. The best was called "Pittsburgh", I did that in Chicago. He had the Chicago Symphony, woodwind, strings, everything on that thing. It was really something else 'cause I had him to go in. I produced it and arranged it. I had him to go in, while he was in Chicago, they gave him a nine foot piano to play on, and I said, "just play whatever you want and then send me the tape". So he did, it was about 8 tunes on there. No it was about 10 tunes and so I said, "all I need for you to do" in those days we were using tapes. I said "just tell me what key they're in".
RR: Right, and just in case.
RE: I have no chart whatsoever or chords or anything. And he, when he went *sings melody* and he's just playing whatever he wanted to play, I got to to have the strings, I got to cue them, *sings melody* 2, 3, 4 *continues melody* I had to cue the strings and the woodwinds and I had four French horns and recorded every one on that thing. It was a joy to do that album. That was pretty good.
RR: Well as we wrap up this great interview, I have to say it was a pleasure, certainly, to talk to you about your life and to hear you record all these dates. You have such a wonderful memory. A great memory. And but just to advice for young writers for the students of how they can pursue a similar type of career, particularly for those, I mean and others. Obviously the business has changed considerably, but our students now are able to have so much, so many more tools at their disposable. But just from your experience and the fact that you're still here, even though you're officially retired, we are glad to have you continue to share your experience. What kinds of nuggets of advice you can give to us?
RE: Well, one of my best students here was a guy named Vite Renn. V-I-T-E, in German, V is pronounced like an F. Vite Renn, R-E-N-N. And he left here and went down to, about 15 years ago now, and went down to Florida and married down there and he got hooked up with this Backstreet Boys, NSYNC and all that. And he did well with that, made him a business and such. And then he introduced me into, what's the young lady's name that's so big now...? Well anyway she's the one who's lost a lot of weight that's on Mally (?) that's on Oprah's show. Boy, I can't think of her name right now, Jennifer Hudson.
RR: Jennifer Hudson, okay.
RE: So I was talking to him about the last week and I was asking about the, how 'bout the business, recording business. He's down in Florida now. He says, "I've gotta think of what I think about the future. I don't know if you wanna hear it." I said "yeah let me hear it!" He says, "First of all, the recording industry is about gone. And it's going to come to the point where you will not be able to make any money on recordings."
RR: That's right.
RE: He said, "if everybody can download your stuff and blah blah blah, that's what'll be happening. If you happen to be a person who'll make appearances, personal appearances and then you get on your web things and followers and people that like you and they say 'contribute a dollar a month just to be on it' and you get about 10,000 people and they doing 10,000 dollars a month, you're cool! That helps, but if you want to make an appearance, then you can broadcast it and they'll come to see you live if you're a performer and it's gonna be that. Ya know, performing like that. But as far as the record industry, that's going down for the future and there being able to make money off of recording something, where people are paying you for royalties. That's almost, one day, is gone." That's how he looks at it. He knows how to survive in the business. So I had to talk to one of my students, who was successful.
RR: Yeah that's one way. Well, Richard thank you so much, Professor Richard. Everyone, we've been talking to professor, Professor Richard Evans. Professor at Berklee. Now semi-retired. And thank you so much for the opportunity to talk to you.
RE: My pleasure, I hope I didn't run on off too much.
RR: This is for you, to give you an opportunity to talk
RE: All righty
RR: Thank you so much
RE: Thank you.