(Arrow Dynamic)


The master of “melodic grunge”, a cult hero for 45 years, the “Neil Young of the instro rock world”, and a charter member of the Rock Instrumental hall of fame, guitar icon Davie Allan is one of America’s great musical heroes and he more than lives up to his enormous legacy on his 2009 CD Retrophonic. A mix of 2009 recordings interwoven with recollected tracks recorded back in the 1960’s that fell by the wayside, Retrophonic features a batch of new recordings featuring Davie with Dusty Watson (drums) and Sam Bolle (bass). In addition to displaying Allan’s legendary instrumental rock sound, the 17 cut Retrophonic CD also features singer Russ Viot. Viot, backed up by Allan’s fuzzed tinged guitar, rips through covers of “You Really Got A Hold On Me” (a fine cover in the Beatles tradition) as well as a take on the Mamas & the Papas classic “Straight Shooter”—both recorded by Allan and company in 1966! Allan’s Retrophonic approach yields some interesting results here. For instance, Allan and company recorded the rock instro “William Tell 1967” back in the ‘60s, adding more tracks to the song in 1970 and finally in April 2009, Allan added lead guitar along with fresh keyboard parts by Adam Marsland. Gerry Goffin’s “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”—recorded by Allan & Co. in 1967 with the late Wayne Allwine, who sadly passed away on May 18, 2009 on vocals—adds fuel to Allan’s Retrophonic concept. After reading this MWE3.com CD review of Retrophonic, Allan was quick to point out that Wayne, starting in 1977 became the 3rd official voice of "Mickey Mouse" and, as if to pay tribute to his old friend, in the CD booklet Allan dedicates Retrophonic to the memory of Wayne Allwine. Whether backing up fine singers or blazing new ground on a fresh batch of fuzzed up, guitar instro rockers, Allan’s guitar comes through loud and clear on the always entertaining Retrophonic. Very much as significant as household names such as The Ventures and Duane Eddy, on Retrophonic Davie Allan lives up to his reputation as a veritable world wide guitar hero. But why stop there? Fans of Allan’s hard hitting guitar rock sound will also no doubt want to hear a pair of CDs Allan released on the Spinout Records imprint. Recorded by Davie Allan And The Arrows, the 14 cut Moving Right Along, from 2008, has Allan backed up by some great instro rock players like David Winogrond (drums) and features a mix of instrumental tracks along with some well paced Allan vocals. “Heartache”, one of Allan’s vocal cuts, is a fantastic track but it’s Allan's instro guitar workouts that will always pin you to the wall. Even though Christmas 2009 is over a month old, let’s not forget Davie Allan And The Arrows recorded a second volume of fuzzed out Christmas instro rockers from 2007 entitled Fuzz For The Holidays 2, that’s also released on the Spinout label. Rock on Santa Claws! www.DavieAllan.com


(the following interview took place on Friday February 12, 2010)

MWE3: Did you ever think you'd be doing an album of Christmas songs back in the '60s? How did the idea of Fuzz For The Holidays spring to mind and why did it take so long?

DA: I never considered it although I did a medley titled "Stoked On Christmas" in '84. In 2003, after hearing that Steven Van Zandt was closing his "Underground Garage" radio show with "Blues Theme", I contacted him and we immediately hit it off. He suggested that I do a Christmas album and that he would pay for it. So, I picked and arranged all the tunes, recorded them and he said I should add keyboards. He came out to California to be in on the keyboard sessions and then I proceeded to mix the album and sent it to him. The title was mine too. He did pay for it and put his name as producer (I did get a token credit inside the booklet that states "additional producing". Aaaarrrggghhh!!!). No volume 3, especially since I basically only make money from my writing and publishing. I did volume 2 as a surprise for Steven and he turned it down. No need to say how I felt about that!

MWE3: How do you approach the idea of making recordings these days compared with your mindset back in the '60s?

DA: Except for mixing in Pro Tools, I do about the same as I did in the 60's. I've produced all my albums since '03 so the only minor hassles are with engineers and musicians.

MWE3: Do you still keep in touch with Mike Curb and do you still get along with him?

DA: We keep in touch only because of the Sundazed reissues. Unfortunately, he owns all my 60's recordings.

MWE3: How did your experience go with Bob Irwin at Sundazed? Do you keep in touch with Bob?

DA: Bob and I got along fine. He asked my thoughts on which tunes for the anthology but all the legal stuff was with Curb. Along with the Devil's Rumble 2-CD anthology in 2004, Bob also released three of my albums (Apache '65, Blues Theme and Cycle-Delic Sounds) with bonus tracks on CD in 2005 and a comp (Cycle Breed) in '06. He is in negotiations with Curb again to release many of the 60's soundtrack albums on CD.

MWE3: What guitars are you playing on the Fuzz For The Holidays Christmas albums?

DA: I used my 1965 Fender Jazzmaster that I still use today and I did a few overdubs on my '67 Mosrite 12-string.

MWE3: How has your guitar arsenal changed since the '60s?

DA: The guitar is the same although I used a Mosrite doubleneck in '67 and a Mosrite fuzz pedal. Today I use a Pro Co "Rat" pedal.

MWE3: Is there a trademark guitar you feel you're associated with and why and how about Davie Allan signature guitars?

DA: Just the Fender. I did try to get an endorsement with Fender for a new one but I never got an answer. I even had letters going to Fender from Mike Curb, Bob Irwin, Steven Van Zandt and many fans and friends. Great letters but no response.

MWE3: Is there a cool story behind your conceiving the Retrophonic album?

DA: The special thing about the concept was that I had some unreleased tracks from the 60's that deserved to be heard plus I wanted to do some new tunes in the raw style of the 60's. The album is about half and half on old and new tracks. I had finished transferring the old tracks and tried to reach Wayne Allwine to make sure he was okay with his version of "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" being included and I couldn't understand why there was no reply. Sadly and devastatingly, I found out he had passed away on May 19th. I dedicated the album to him. His wife, Russi "Minnie Mouse" Taylor was thrilled and asked me to speak at a tribute to him at the Disney studios in Burbank on July 27th. The next day I received this from Russi: "I don't know if Wayne told you that he was so happy to know you continued your life in music and never gave it up. And honestly, the whole night long, even in my dreams last night, I heard Wayne singing "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow". And of course, I will. I think that was my favorite part of the night last night, and I thank you for that."

MWE3: How did you meet Wayne Allwine and how did you start recording with him?

DA: Larry Brown (who quit playing to engineer) and my replacement drummer, Don Manning knew Wayne and wanted me to meet him and maybe add him to the group. I added him right away! We soon went on tour for Blues Theme and after that month long tour in 1967, we came home to record the ultimate Arrows' album of the 60's Cycle-Delic Sounds.

MWE3: Can you tell us more album Wayne being the 3rd voice of Mickey Mouse?

DA: Wayne was working in the Disney mailroom when he joined the band. Ten years after his stint as an "Arrow", he auditioned for the gig of a lifetime and got it. He did "Mickey's" voice for 32 years. Walt Disney did it first from 1928 to 1946, the 2nd was Jim McDonald from 1946 to 1977. Wayne was "Mickey's" voice in movies, TV and at the theme parks.

MWE3: What are you future plans following the Retrophonic CD?

DA: Nothing planned at the moment although "Retrophonic 2" would be a possibility.


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