It's however 2008 now and 'Mister Smooth' has returned with a brand new album that will easily please all fans of laidback West Coast music. Indeed, "Time And Tide" is an timeless display of bona-fide smooth, soulful, r&b, Westcoast music, which just as easily could have been recorded in 78', 88', 98', or for that matter, 2018. THE best soft-rock CD you've heard in ages. Excellent production, colourful texture, killer vocals, and overall top class performance and musicianship. We had a quick chat with the man and myth, Robbie Dupree.
- Congrats on coming up with one helluva fine and smooth record (CD). Are you overall please with the outcome? You're not afraid that some might find it too laidback and mellow?
[Robbie Dupree, 'RD']: Yes I am very pleased. My aim was to make this recording with my touring band, very live in the studio. I think it is a fine representation of what we have been working on for the past 5 years. It is not too laid back if you listen to the topics that I write about. My music has always been made up of simple grooves. It has meaning and it is not at all like Smooth Jazz. That would be too laid back for me.
- How would YOU describe your own music? It's a mix of rock, r&b, jazz, soul, and people just call it Westcoast?
[RD]: In this time, more than a half century after the birth of Rock & Roll, it is very difficult to categorize music. West Coast will do if you want to use that.
- Were you ever into this whole "Yacht Rock" idea as a soft-rock sub-style? It sounds very posh :-)
[RD]: I think it's a joke made up by college kids. None of the artists think of themselves as Yacht Rock. I think the videos on the web are funny.
- There's a rather poetical meaning behind your new album title, "Time And Tide", No?- both are constantly changing?
[RD]: Time and Tide does evoke the feeling of constant change. That is the reason I chose it.
- Do you consider yourself, "Lucky". I'm obviously refering to the song off the album.
[RD]: Of course I am lucky. I am still living my dream after all these years. I have been very fortunate to have survived when many of my friends didn't make it. Music is my joy and anyone who can keep going strong after 35 years would be called Lucky.
- You also have song titles such as, "Knocking On The Gates Of Eden" and "Judgement Day". Any particular reason or pure coincidence?
[RD]: They are simply songs about life and the challenges we face. I prefer to leave songs up to the interpretation of the listener. That allows everyone to make the song their own.
- What's your way to writing music, how do you work most efficiently?
[RD]: Music comes easily to me but lyric writing is a chore of huge proportion. It took me 8 months to write the lyrics for this record.
- How come you produced your own CD, are you basically a control-freak?
[RD]: I have been produced by others in the past. All good experiences for me. At this point in my career I know exactly what I want to do. I get lots of help from my band and from the great engineers who record and mix my records.
- What's your opinion about the internet. There weren't any MP3's, illegal downloading, and cheeky webzine interviewers, when you first started out performing music.
[RD]: If it weren't for the internet, artists like myself who began many years ago, would be lost and would never be able to maintain a presence in todays market. On balance, the internet is a great thing for music.
- Like I wrote in my review of your CD, I haven't actually heard any of your previous albums. Do you find this unprofessional and rude?
[RD]: I am glad that you are reviewing me based on this recording. History can bury an artist.
- I've only recently discovered acts such as The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan [the last couple of months actually - I'm however a long-time fan of Chicago, Toto, etc]. Would you say these bands were a great source of inspiration for you in the late 70's/early 80's.
[RD]: I was fortunate to have come up in the music business at a very exciting time. All the groups you named have been influential. West Coast Music has a core ingredient that makes it connected, much like Motown, Blues, Funk and Hard Rock. My music is a product of all that I have experienced and enjoyed.
- You recorded your first two solo albums for Elektra records in the early 80's. But something went bad with the deal as you cancelled the contract and sat out the reminder of the time. What exactly went wrong with Elektra?
[RD]: Elektra actually dropped me in the middle of recording my third album. Like all lame corporate companies, they chased the New Wave and wound up out of business. I take some joy in driving past the old Elektra offices in LA. I think it houses a real estate company now.
- You received a Grammy nomination as best new artist of 1981 and lost out to Sheena Easton??? What were you thoughts back then and what do you think about her nowadays.
[RD]: In fact, I lost out to Christopher Cross. Christopher had a fantastic record and swept the Grammy's that year. Regarding Sheena Easton, she still looks HOT and I would still like to............
- Did you ever do any crazy stuff in the 80's? Was it easy to get caught up in the glamourus L.A. scene of fast cars, women, fame, and drugs?
[RD]: Yes it was easy to get caught up in the LA scene. To some extent I did my share, but for most of it I was married and living in Woodstock New York. I believe that saved my life.
- I guess you've always been this, "Mister Smooth", on your albums. You've never felt the need of including a AC/DC sort of song, you know, just to throw everybody off balance?
[RD]: Believe it or not - I am a huge fan of AC/DC and many other bad ass bands. I just never fit in in that world as an artist. I think I will have to be a Smoothie forever. I do work with Rock and Pop Masters from time to time. I get a chance to join guys like Joe Lynn Turner and Jimi Jamison on stage. For me, singing bvox on My Woman from Tokyo is as close as I get to ROCK.
(c) 2008 RockUnited.Com, 28 May
Visit www.robbiedupree.com for more info!