"Just For The Record" is a brand new section at the RockUnited site where 'DJ Urban' has a look at some old(er) records/albums in the great history of hard rock and metal. It could be some "obscure" minor record label release that simply didn't get the attention it so rightly deserved the first time around. It could also be a what you would call a "classic" album or sort of a best-seller. They all have one thing in common though. They all ROCK and and they all have at least one classy enough band member to answer our q's.
ROBBIE DUPREE: "Robbie Dupree"
ROBBIE DUPREE and his self-titled album from the year of 1980 (Elektra Records). Ultra smooth 'West Coast' music of its time and simply put a bonafide record. This is a classic album of its genre and Dupree's first single, "Steal Away", hit #6 on the Billboard chart in April of '80. I definitely need 'the best of both worlds' as I enjoy Speed/Thrash Metal as well as smooth West Coast music and pop. Sweet and sour, dark and light, good and evil? I need both and could not stand listening to merely one genre and/or style of music. This excellent album earned Robbie Dupree a Grammy nomination for best new artist of the year and 'Steal Away' has been played on U.S. Radio some three million times. This best-seller album fits nicely in with other releases from acts such as Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers, Toto, Air Supply, 10 CC, Christopher Cross, etc. Here to answer all the 'Just For The Record' questions, the one and only, Mr. ROBBIE DUPREE
How long did this album take to make from start to finish, recording-wise?
The album was done in two phases. First, the demo of 4 songs which later became part of the Master. The second phase was after we got the Elektra deal. In terms of days all combined maybe 20 days of recording and 10 of mixing.
What kind of initial budget are we talking about here?
Once we signed we received 100 k. We had spent money on the demo much of which was deferred payment. When it was all totaled I think we spent 70k.
How much of the budget did you actually spend on useless equipment and other nonsense?
No waste at all. It was a lean production and we were all very aware of the wasteful process so we avoided it.
What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to entering the studio?
It was a very straight -ahead production. Live band and typical California style production techniques.
What kind of input did the producer have during the process?
The producers were also my drummer, Peter Bunetta, and bassist, Rick Chudacoff. Together with our engineer Gary Brandt, we all had cooperative input. It was more like a band than a studio session.
And were you pleased with the final outcome? (sound - production wise)
I still love the sound. Gary gave us a rich sound using the finest mics and recording gear. All vintage, all analog!
Did the producer use any (weird) experimental miking and/or recording techniques?
Not at all. it wasn't that type of record. We just wanted clean sounds and solid performances.
How much time did you spend on overdubs?
Probably half of all recording time was overdubs. We had very big backing vocals and lots of synth and keyboard work.
Which band member spent most of his days in the studio and why?
Rick Chudacoff and Peter were always there because it was their first production and they wanted it to be right. Also, since the single, "Steal Away", was a big hit (released before the album) there was extra pressure to get the album finished and delivered fast.
Which band member hardly spent any time at all in the studio and why?
That's a hard question to answer. Every involved did their work in as much time as it took. Everybody hung out while the record was being worked on. It was a very close bunch of friends and so we were always together.
Let's talk about the lyrics. Are you just as fond of them today or are they typical of its time?
They were the first lyrics I had ever recorded. Some of them hold up pretty well, but I realized long ago that the power in them is defined by the place the songs have in the lives of the fans. They have built their own memories around those songs and so I never second guess them.
How did you go on about capturing your 'live sound', or perhaps you didn't?
I grew up doing live gigs long years before my first record. The sound has always been dependent on the input of the band and the material we chose to perform.
Did the record company interfere anything on your "sound" and "songs", considering what's 'hot and not' at the time?
The first album was made completely outside of the view of Elektra. "Steal Away" was a surprise smash hit and they had no idea what we were doing. They just wanted the album quickly so they could catch-up with the promotion of the single. It was a maverick records. I know of no others like it at that time. Labels always were a pain in the ass and often had to be locked out of sessions. We were lucky.
Your favourite songs off the album and why?
"I'm No Stranger" ...no special reason. Just a fave.
Any 'oh-I-wish-we-had-never-recorded' song on this album?
No- I can live with them all 30 years after. They are the reason why I am still doing this career. They changed my life forever.
Were there any other tracks recorded during those studio sessions that didn't make the cut?
No. Whatever we had ready to record was recorded.
What's your honest opinion about the songs and the production today? Dated, fresh, a mess?
This album is a part of a "west coast music" tradition. By hip hop standards it is dated but then, so is James Taylor.
Are there any 'crazy' behind the scenes anecdotes from these sessions that you can share with us?
I wish I had some great story to share but it was simply a great experience. We had energy from the hit record already out there. The mood was light and we had a ball but nothing weird happened. I should work on a better story for the next interview.
Were you ever a "priority" case or merely just another release at your record label?
We had a singles deal. "Steal Away" came out and immediately went to the top of the charts. The label didn't even know that we had no album deal in place. We were hardly a priority.
Did you ever feel like the record label supported you guys enough afterwards? (promotion-wise, tours, etc.).
The label spent a lots of promo money on me. It takes a fortune to get a hit and keep things rolling on radio. That is, back then when radio was king.
Any regrets whatsoever? (regarding the album of course)
No regrets at all. It would have been great if Elektra had been as supportive of my second album, but that's another Hollywood story.
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, or promote, please do:
My musical journey began years before my first album. It's success gave me everything an artist could ever want. I have continued for the last 30 years, recording and touring, all because of the fans who loved the early records. Check out my website to see what has been going on through all the years and all the changes of my life.
Interview by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,