Bon Jovi, Donnie Iris and Copyright Law: A Conversation With Mark Avsec - Page 7
Ironically, I toured with Carlos in Wild Cherry (when I was in the band that had the hit “Play That Funky Music”). Again, I never got to know him well. But his band was smoking – and we used to hang with them a bit and go see jazz groups after-hours with them.
gJg: What was it like to perform at the Grammy awards?
MA: It was surreal. I have a tape of the show. I don’t know if you remember the television show, Laugh-In? Because, though the show was state of the art at the time, the graphics and the production seem so amateurish now. But there I was – sitting behind Ringo and standing next to Barbra Streisand backstage.
We stayed at the Beverly Wilshire hotel and I was waiting for my limo to take me to the show – Andy Warhol was standing there waiting for his limo and so was George Benson, who finally achieved commercial success after years of paying his dues in small jazz bars. We also toured with George Benson a lot during those days.
As for the Grammy show, we played on the show. We were a one-hit wonder but it was a BIG hit and still is. I really had nothing to do with the success of that song. That was all Robert Parisi. I just showed up in the recording studio. I learned how to make records during that period of time. My relatives thought I was probably rolling in the dough but that was not true either.
gJg: What are the plans for shows in 2012 with Donnie Iris and The Cruisers?
MA: My friendship with Donnie is one of the joys of my life. In fact my friendships with all of the Cruisers are very meaningful to me.
We have a very respectful band. There is no back-biting. We have always been very positive with each other. I may take the lead as the prime mover – but we have some super-talented people. Donnie, of course. And he has really become a legend in Pittsburgh. Marty – one of the most talented and creative guitarists. Kevin Valentine – awesome drummer and a very talented engineer and producer. Paul Goll – who was not the original bass player – but has been with us so long. The perfect guy for us now. He sings well and plays very nice bass – and is a great person. Our great band extends to our longtime crew – and in particular, Jimmy Markovich, our longtime sound guy.Continued on the next page