of the coolest guitar instrumental albums of 2013 is the CD release
of 3 Quarter Dime by Texas guitar slinger Jim Colegrove.
Credited to Jim Colegrove & The New Rough Riders Of A Dirty
Age and released on the TX-based Cool Groove Records label, the
13 track CD starts off rockin and just rocks harder and faster.
Some of these newly recorded guitar sessions echo back to that fabled
1959/1960 era when instrumental groups like The Ventures and legends
like Link Wray and Dick Dale ruled the guitar world. Several of Jims
buddies from way back flesh out the tracks including drummer Linda
Waring. Commenting on returning to the guitar instrumental sound
in 2013, Jim explains, Ive enjoyed what I perceive
as a successful life in music in that I was able to play and record
what I loved. That I did the current record at this time was largely
due to the fact that I wanted to go full circle in case I was at the
end of it all. That and I knew there was an interest in this kind
of instrumental rock n roll by a certain segment of music
lovers. So I started working on it a couple of years ago. If
you close your eyes and put on this CD, it almost sounds like the
early 1960s again. The 3 Quarter dime CD liner notes
offers some key history behind Jim and his extensive career in the
music world and if you go the the Cool Groove web site you can read
some really eye opening facts and figures about Jims long and
colorful history in the rock / guitar world. The whole instrumental
guitar movement is a great way to experience musical nostalgia but
on 3 Quarter Dime, Jim Colegrove blasts the entire guitar instrumental
world into the 21st century. www.TheCoolGroove.com
mwe3.com presents an interview with
mwe3: Your name isnt very well known among guitar instrumental
fans. Why did it take so long for you to make an album as great as
3 Quarter Dime and can you tell the readers some history behind
the making of the CD?
COLEGROVE: If my name isnt known the band Teddy & the
Rough Riders certainly is known by collectors and I was their lead
guitarist and wrote their best known songs. That band started in 1958.
I went through a lot of changes over the years since then and drifted
in and out of music styles that I happen to love. Ive enjoyed
what I perceive as a successful life in music in that I was able to
play and record what I loved. That I did the current record at this
time was largely due to the fact that I wanted to go full circle in
case I was at the end of it all. That and I knew there was an interest
in this kind of instrumental rock n roll by a certain
segment of music lovers. So I started working on it a couple of years
mwe3: What are some of your fondest memories about working
with both Felix Pappalardi and N.D. Smart II who were both founders
of the group Mountain. Its a great story that you, Felix and
N.D. worked together in Bo Grumpus and also wasn't Gail Collins
was involved in that album? Who else was involved in that album? I
guess Felix was as good as gold back in those days. I had forgotten
he also produced the song Get Together for The Youngbloods
too. And how about Tom Dowd? Wasnt he on the scene back then
JIM COLEGROVE: Well, Felix was the real founder of Mountain.
He was looking for a vehicle for Leslie who had been in the Vagrants.
The story he told in Circus Magazine was that he got the idea when
Leslie came in and played on a track that we did in 1969 with the
band that was known as JolliverArkansaw for Bell Records (Gray
Afternoon from the LP Home). Felix
called me and told me he was going into the studio to record with
Leslie. He wanted me to play bass. He asked which drummer should he
useN.D. Smart or Ronnie Blake. I thought N.D. would be better
since he had been the drummer with the Remains on the Beatles
tour in 1966. We went into the studio and recorded a track. It was
Im Down. Both Felix and Leslie were playing acoustic
guitars. The next night Felix told me he was going to try to play
bass. So, they redid the track and Felix copied my bass line. The
rest of the story you know. The only things I know that Gail ever
did was write lyrics and do art work. She tried her hand at producing.
Tom Dowd was an Atlantic engineer. He was a great engineer. Im
not so sure he was a great record producer but thats just me.
I had some sore experiences with him over the years.
mwe3: Looking back on it, what were some of your favorite recording
sessions? I didnt remember that you also played on Todd Rundgrens
Something / Anything album which was kind of a landmark album.
You also worked with Allen Ginsberg too on the Made Up In Texas,
which is kind of a fascinating story.
JIM COLEGROVE: Todd was fun to work with. He used to stay at
my house in Woodstock before he moved there. He also produced the
first Great Speckled Bird LP for Ampex/Bearsville in 1969. I have
of fond studio memories. Bobby Charles would be one of the favorites
and another would be the sessions for Barbara Keith that Peter Asher
produced. Allen Ginsberg came out of the blue one day when I got a
call from Michael Minzler, the producer, who was looking for someone
to play guitar with Allen for a live gig in Dallas. He said people
told him I was his man. So, I did that and then ended up doing the
record with him. Allen and I got along very well. He was a little
surprised that I had more Jack Kerouac recordings than he had.
mwe3: Why did you call your 2013 CD 3 Quarter Dime and
also why did you call your group on the CD, Jim Colegrove & The
New Rough Riders Of A Dirty Age and who plays with you on the CD?
I guess the group name is a flashback to the band you had in the 1950s
with Teddy & The Rough Riders and you were longing to get back
JIM COLEGROVE: 3 Quarter Dime is a play on Three-quarter
time. And it somewhat harkens back to the time when you could play
several songs for a quarter on the juke boxes. Yes, the name is a
play on the Rough Riders but its also a pun on New Riders of
the Purple Sage. You have to understand that a lot of this is tongue-in-cheek.
The players on the record are two guys from my band Lost Country:
David McMillan and Rob Caslin. Then there is the great rock n
roll drummer from Texas, Linda Waring. She was the drummer for the
rock trio Nitzinger and also played with Bugs Henderson in Fancy Space
and then in Bugss band in later years.
When did you become interested in the guitar instrumental genre and
what were your earliest forays into that field? Who were some of your
biggest guitar influences and favorite guitarists while you were growing
up, especially as you were a contemporary of Duane, Santo and Johnny
and the other players from back then?
JIM COLEGROVE: The guitar instrumental was sort of put on me
by one of my early managers. He wanted guitar instrumentals. So, we
did them. There isnt any earlier foray than Tomahawk
and Thunderhead on Tilt (#778) in 1960 for me. Of course,
when I was in my formative years all the usual players were important
to me. But Scotty Moore and Link Wray were the early ones. Later,
the ones I list on the CD came into play. I may have forgotten to
list and important one: Eddie Bush who played on Carl Mann records.
But there are a lot both known and unknown.
mwe3: Theres so many great tracks on the 3 Quarter
Dime CD. Do you have any favorites? Wooly Gully is
a real hoot and it sound like a spin off instrumental based on Wooly
Bully. Its a real party kind of song. Was that the vibe
behind that track?
JIM COLEGROVE: As many people may know, the section where the
7th chord hammers on in Wooly Bully was lifted by Damingo
Samudio from a record by a band from Dallas called Big Bo and the
Arrows. Their song is titled Hully Gully Now. So, I took
that lick and the stop time section from the Olympics record of Hully
Gully and made up what is naturally titled Wooly Gully.
Listen to Big Bo and you will get it. Look at it as an expose.
How about the song Shadooka? It does sound somewhat like
a track The Shadows or The Ventures might have recorded but propelled
by a bazooka!
JIM COLEGROVE: That is a song I have carried with me for so
many years that I am finally glad its done. I have no idea where
it came from. The title is nothing more than an onomatopoetic name
kind of like Charlie Parkers Klactoveedsedstene.
mwe3: What about Bean Pot? What a great track that
is. Is there a direct inspiration or story behind that track?
JIM COLEGROVE: A friends son, who is a big fan, especially
of my band Lost Country, told me he had written a song for Lost Country.
He came over to make a demo on it. When he did the guitar track I
asked him to sing the words or at least the melody. He had neither.
So, I had a guitar track. I didnt think it fit Lost Countrys
style. So, I added the rest as his rhythm track moved me and named
it Bean Pot which is the name of an old club back in Ohio
in the early days somewhere near Middletown. Maybe thats what
got me in the mood to do the new CD.
mwe3: You have another band called Lost Country too. When did
you form Lost Country and can you contrast working with Lost Country
with your background in the guitar instrumental genre?
JIM COLEGROVE: Lost Country started in the late 1990s. David
McMillan (a great singer/songwriter/steel guitarist) and I started
working on tracks together just for fun. Then it evolved from there.
As it turned out I got the late Jeff Gutcheon to come into the band
on keyboards. So, it really is an extension of the group Hungry Chuck
(Bearsville Records). David always wanted me to sing
with Susan, my wife, together in a band so she got into it as well.
It was never meant to be a country band exclusively. The name indicates
an area undefined or to be explored. That band has nothing to do with
instrumental guitar records. In fact, I had to learn, or at least
modify, my style to play with that band. That band was more about
songs, song writing and vocal arranging.
mwe3: It seems Texas is still a great place for instrumental
guitar music. In the CD credits you mention Don Leady and even Dan
Forte. Dan of course was Teisco del Rey and now of course hes
the editor with Vintage Guitar magazine. What other guitarists do
you feel today are making great instrumental music? The entire guitar
instrumental genre is of course is still huge the world over.
JIM COLEGROVE: Of course, those guys are at the top as far
as I am concerned. But I am not so well versed in it that I could
write a list. But there are
a bunch of great guitarists from Texas. Freddie Cisneros is one of
my favorites but hes in Arizona now. Hes a veteran rocker
from Texas. But so many come from Texas its spooky.
mwe3: Most people dont know that in addition to your
recording career youre also the head of the Cool Groove Records
label. When did you start Cool Groove and how many albums have you
released on the label? Whats the criteria for releasing albums
on Cool Groove and are most of them reissues or are there new albums
being recorded too? Whats coming next on Cool Groove?
JIM COLEGROVE: I started the label in 2001. There have been
13 releases on the label. Mostly it was for Lost Country stuff but
there are others but only a couple are reissues of old Juke Jumper
CDs, another band I was in. I simply released stuff I liked. I am
not hopeful of continued releases on the label as the CD business
is pretty much a dead issue now except for special collectors. 3
Quarter Dime may very well be it.
mwe3: What have you got planned for writing new music, recording
new sounds and also plans for Cool Groove moving forward? Have you
any other plans as well involving music for the remainder of 2013
and into 2014?
JIM COLEGROVE: All of this remains to be seen. As everyone
knows I am not a kid starting out but just the opposite. Be that as
it may I am always searching for something and will probably be that
way until I am no more. I still have an imagination.
PHOTO CREDITS BY JIM COLEGROVE
1/ Jim Colegrove today
2/ A photo from a newpaper of Felix Pappalardi playing organ with
Bo Grumpus at The Boston Tea Party in 1968.
3/ A photo of Felix playing bass with me playing guitar from the same
4/ A favorite photo of Stephen Bruton and me at my home in Woodstock
1972. Stephen was one of the greats that I mention on the CD. His
brother, Sumter, and I formed the Juke Jumpers. He passed away some
5/ A photo of N.D. and me in our band at Little Mickey's Cocktails
A-Go-Go in Dayton, Ohio 1966 before we left for Boston later that
6/ A photo of Bo Grumpus on stage at the Cafe Wha? in 1967. Eddie
Mottau, me, Joe Hutchinson. N.D. is on drums but out of the frame.
7/ The first promo photo of Bo Grumpus taken by Gail Collins in front
of their apartment in MacDougal Alley, summer 1967. That's me, Joe
Hutchinson, N.D. Smart, Eddie Mottau.
8/ One of my favorite photos of the Juke Jumpers from 1980. The band
was together in one form or another for 17 years (1977-1994), toured
coast-to-coast in the U.S. and played in Europe.
Thanks to Jim Colegrove @ www.TheCoolGroove.com