FM to Web: Standells Interview

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The legendary (indeed) Monterey Pop Festival of 1967, is considered by many (including me) the most important festival of the sixties and probably the most important of all time.

The peak of a generation and the culmination of a unique gathering of musicians. Woodstock, 2 years later, is another chapter…  For many, it was the finale of all the dreams made in the 60’s, even though it was an unbelievably great and important event. The summer of love, though, the summer of 1967 was already a memory, and things were heading another direction.

In a few words, what was clear and simple in Monterey, through the intoxicating innocence of that summer, because ‘everything was possible’ (as Sky Saxon told me few years ago), became complex and ‘heavy’ in 1969’s Woodstock. Woodstock was the (amazing) epilogue of a generation.

But let’s come back to today. In a few days, on September ,29th , the legendary Standells (with a new album!) will be headlining this year’s Monterey Pop Festival, on its 45th anniversary. Is there a better chance to talk with them?

Dimitris Antonopoulos: Hello Larry! First of all its really a great pleasure! So, how do you think about the Monterey Pop Festival on September 2012? You're the headliners!
Larry Tamblyn:
  It's especially gratifying. The Standells (along with the Doors) were not invited to perform at the first one in 1967. We are honored at being the headliners for this event!

D.A.: How do you feel really about the 45th anniversary of such an amazing festival? For many (count me in...) the Monterey was simply the best festival of a generation… and not the Woodstock in '69. Do you think so?
L.T.:
It certainly has its history, you know. We'll be performing on the same stage where Jimi Hendrix burned his guitar. As I understand it, that area is now considered sacred J. We hope we will be up to the task of honoring the memory of Jim and all of those who could not make it. I must say, that we will be performing what we think will be a first. I can't tell you what it is, but you may hear it in the news!

D.A.: The Standells are more than just the band, you're bassicaly the real thing, to put it straight, you're a LEGENDARY band. How do you feel looking back, after so many years Larry..?
L.T.:
Thank you. Such statements always humble me, because there were so many great bands back then. Quite honestly, we never imagined that we'd have the impact in rock history like we have. 2012 is the Standells’ 50th anniversary. I formed it in 1962, and in some ways it seems just like yesterday - especially when we perform for younger people who are hearing our music for the first time.

D.A.: Is there an 'inside story' about the making of 'Try It' really? It’s one of my fav songs ever you know..
L.T.:
As soon as we finished recording the song, we strongly felt that is was going to be a chart-topper. Billboard magazine deemed Try to be our next big hit. But along about that time, Gordon McLendon, a very powerful radio mogul (who was also a right-wing Christian fundamentalist), began a campaign against what he deemed objectionable record lyrics, and he happened to choose the Standells "Try It" as an example, claiming it encourage young girls to have sex. Honestly, there wasn't an objectionable content to the lyrics. Perhaps it was the sexy way in which it was sung. Anyway, McLendon banned "Try It", and encouraged other radio stations to do the same.  Even though "Try It" was #1 on many radio charts, McLendon managed to destroy it, even after a televised debate between McLendon and the Standells on Art Linkletter's House Party (By all accounts, the Standells defeated him pretty handily.) See the Standells Facebook page / photos & memorabilia for news clippings etc.

D.A.: Are you working on a new project, new material maybe?
L.T.:
Yes, we are in the midst of recording the first Standells record album in over 45 years. (See and hear some of the songs on the Standells Facebook page). We think it will be perhaps one of the best albums we've ever recorded. Besides, it is being done in the Standells Garage Studio (It really is a converted garage).

D.A.:  And what about a classic film of the sixties? 'Riot On Sunset Strip'? Any special memories?
L.T.: 
Our portion was filmed on a set in Hollywood. I know that all of the British groups like the DC5 and the Animals were filmed in the UK. I also know that the movie was rushed together within a few weeks after the Sunset Strip riots. It is one of my favorite movies; perhaps not in the manner it was meant. The movie was so corny, it was good; much like Plan 9 from Outer Space. I mean really, a virginal girl takes a pill (acid) and gets gang-banged?

D.A.: Are you listening any NEW music/artist/band really? What do you think about the GARAGE scene nowdays? Any 'tips' from the true originals for the new generation..?
L.T.:
There are some groups today who I really like, such as the Foo Fighters (they also recorded their album in a garage). I also really like Green Day. I'm very good friends with Jeff Connelly from the Lyres. In fact, we're doing one of their songs "Help You Ann" on the new album.

D.A.: What are your memories of being with the Standells in the sixties? Can you tell us a good Rock & Roll story really? I am sure you can..!!
L.T.:
I have all sorts of road stories. Here's one such story: One time we hired an actress to call our guitarist (he had to have at least 2-3 girls per night). We remembered one particular young one he was with in Texas. This was about six month after that when we were in Seattle, WA, with some time on our hands. The actress called the guitarist right when he was in bed with another girl, told him that she was the girl from Texas, that she was only 14 years old, and that she was pregnant. She also had all of his personal information, and integrated it into the story. The coup de grace was when she told him that her daddy was a deputy sheriff in Texas, and was flying out to speak with him. I wanna tell you he was scared shitless. He came in to our room and told us the story (while we all kept straight faces( His face was pure white, he was in tears, until we could take it no longer and rolled on the floor with laughter. You'd think he would've learned his lesson from this, but the following day, he was right back to his old self.

D.A.: Can we hope for an ATHENS gig really Larry?! Is there a chance?
L.T.:
We went there in 2010 on a European tour (you'll have to look it up). We really loved Athens! They called us back for two encores! The a possibility of another tour in 2013, but we can't say for sure until the deal is done.

D.A.: Can you tell me 5 of your fav albums ever?
L.T.:
Beatles: Meet the Beatles, Rubber Soul, Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band and Yes - Close to the Edge

D.A.:  And closing the interview, my classic question. Let’s say that we can have a time machine (!) for the next 24 hours! Ok... So, can you tell me WHERE would you like to go for a whole day?
L.T.:
I'd give anything to go back to the time I was fed up with being a musician (in 1969) That was when I decided to leave rock and roll altogether - it lasted for about 14 years.  I would say to myself «Don't give up now; the best is yet to come! »

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