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george meyer interview

 

Recently I conducted an interview with George Meyer via e-mail. George played sax and keyboards in Ian's band during the 1979 and 1980 tours. George has also played with other well known musicians, including Corky Laing and Meatloaf, during his career. My thanks to George for taking the time to answering the questions and sharing some of his past with Ian's fans.


96 Decibel Freaks:  How did you get started in the music business?

George Meyer:  I started my first band at 12 years old and played the usual gigs -- clubs, private parties, etc. -- in many New York and New Jersey bands until 1976 when I joined some old friends in Asbury Park in the "Blackberry Booze Band". The original Blackberry included Southside Johnny, Kenny Pentifello and others. The band turned into the Asbury Jukes shortly after Little Steven joined and kicked out David and Paul -- the two guys who started the band. With David, Paul, Bruce Stewart and myself, we reformed Blackberry and played locally (blues and originals) until Corky Laing (of Mountain) called us and took the whole band, plus another harp player, to Woodstock to tour behind his solo album.

96DF:  What recollections can you share about your time in Corky's band?

GM:  Corky was great -- taught us a whole lot about playing large venues. The rehearsals were actually pretty funny as he took us -- a club band -- and worked for a month to turn us into a concert band. Lots of laughs and frustration but it got done and turned into a pretty good band. Paul Dicker, the guitarist, is one of the most amazing players I have ever heard. During the month of rehearsals, we met Mick Ronson (and his and Suzie's engagement party) along with Bobby Chen and the rest. A good time was had by all. The tour lasted 3 weeks, but was fairly unsuccessful, and we all went home.

96DF:  Did you work with Mick at that time?

GM:  Apart from being in the studio once or twice to watch, I was not in any way involved with Mick's album or sessions. I know know more about the sessions after having worked with Mick for 2 years and spending time with Bobby Chen.

96DF:  How did you end up in Ian's band?

GM:  Approximately a year after the gigs with Corky, I got a call from "Buffalo" Bill Gelber to come audition for what was to be a Foreigner-type band with Ian, Corky, Buffalo, Steve Hunter and Lee Michaels who apparently wasn't up to it... so me. Rumor has it that my audition went well enough but the record company said no to me as I was not a former star of any sort. Ian called me some months after that to tour with him behind the Schizophrenic album. Eight days of rehearsal and off we went.

96DF:  Is that a favorite gig or favorite recollection that you have from your time in Ian's band?

GMIt's hard to think of a "favorite gig" with Ian. We had an enormous amount of fun all the time and played with some great bands -- The Kinks, Heart, Warren Zevon and a million more. Ian and Mick were really good people and the whole band got along very well. I loved playing Detroit (Cobo Hall) and it is, of course, hard to find a better rock'n'roll city than Cleveland. The Roxy gigs were great. My first trip to London was the Hammersmith gig with Ian -- the party after the gig, hanging with Pete Townshend... hard to top, really a great experience.

96DF:  Who did you play with after the 1979 and 1980 tours with Ian?

GM:  I did some work on the Short Back N' Sides album. Ian was at the piano recording "Old Records Never Die" when the call came about John Lennon. Horrible ending... After Ian, actually during a break, I joined 3 others from Ian's band and did Ellen Foley's tour. I toured with Melanie for a while and then got the gig with Meatloaf, where I met Pamela Moore, a singer in Meat's band who I have now been married to for 22 years! I moved to Los Angeles and mostly recorded with Pamela and Davey Johnstone. I then moved back east and played gigs with Otis Rush, Little Sammy Davis and in an original band with Bobby Chen -- TSTQ (To Stupid To Quit). I co-wrote a song with Martin Briley for Karla DeVito's first album and I wrote one with Ted Neely for Meat's third album.

96DF:  What are you up to these days?

GM:  Nowadays, Pamela (who was also in Bob Seger's band) and I write, record and play occasional gigs. We have a real estate business and we are raising 2 kids! I hope this is not too much blather. Thanks for the chance to share this. I like Ian a lot and I miss Mick Ronson... he was truly a great character.

Thanks Rich,
George Meyer
February 2004

Credits:

Top photo courtesy of George Meyer.

Copyright © 2004 Rich Manson.  No part of this interview may be reprinted or quoted without the permission of the author. 


Copyright©2000-2004 Richard A. Manson


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