JIM COLEGROVE & THE NEW ROUGH RIDERS OF A DIRTY AGE
3 Quarter Dime
(Cool Groove Records)

 

One 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 Jim’s buddies from way back flesh out the tracks including drummer Linda Waring. Commenting on returning to the guitar instrumental sound in 2013, Jim explains, ‘I’ve 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 1960’s 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 Jim’s 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
JIM COLEGROVE


mwe3
: Your name isn’t 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?

JIM COLEGROVE: If my name isn’t 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. I’ve 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.

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. It’s 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? Wasn’t he on the scene back then too?

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 use—N.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 “I’m 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. I’m not so sure he was a great record producer but that’s 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 didn’t remember that you also played on Todd Rundgren’s 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 a lot 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 to

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 it’s 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 Bugs’s band in later years.

mwe3: 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 isn’t 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: There’s 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”. It’s 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.

mwe3: 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 it’s done. I have no idea where it came from. The title is nothing more than an onomatopoetic name kind of like Charlie Parker’s “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 friend’s 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 didn’t think it fit Lost Country’s 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 that’s 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 he’s 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 he’s in Arizona now. He’s a veteran rocker from Texas. But so many come from Texas it’s spooky.

mwe3: Most people don’t know that in addition to your recording career you’re 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? What’s the criteria for releasing albums on Cool Groove and are most of them reissues or are there new albums being recorded too? What’s 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
{TOP TO BOTTOM}

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 gig.
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 years ago.
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 year.
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



 

 
   
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