Mitch Weissman (2013)
Background vocalist/original "Beatlemania" cast member recalls his contributions to Gene Simmons' 1978 solo album and his work with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons on albums such as "Animalize" and "Crazy Nights," plus a potpourri of KISS stories and tangents.
David Snowden (2013)
Longtime KISS fan and former head of the Vinnie Vincent Invasion fan club talks "All Systems Go" and various KISS-related topics
John Storyk (2013)
Renowned studio designer recalls his work on Ace Frehley's Ace in the Hole Studios in Wilton, CT
Mark Opitz (2013)
Producer details his work on "KISS Symphony: Alive IV"
Bruce Foster (2012)
Grammy-nominated musician discusses working with KISS and playing piano on "Nothin' To Lose"
David Wolfert (2012)
Grammy- and Emmy-nominated producer recalls working with Peter Criss on his first post-KISS solo album, 1980's "Out Of Control"
Bob Ezrin (2012)
Legendary producer details "Destroyer: Resurrected" and the making of the album
Lydia Criss (2012)
Author discusses the second printing of "Sealed With A KISS" and various Peter Criss- and KISS-related topics
Ron Nevison (2012)
A celebration of the 25th anniversary of "Crazy Nights" featuring an in-depth discussion with renowned producer/engineer
Jean Beauvoir (2010)
Songwriter/recording artist recalls collaborations with KISS on "Animalize," "Asylum" and more
Kenny Kerner (2010)
Recalling KISS' early days with the co-producer of "KISS" and "Hotter Than Hell"
Eric Singer (2010)
Exclusive interview with KISS' current drummer regarding a variety of topics
Ace Frehley (2009)
KISS' original Spaceman details his first studio album in 20 years, "Anomaly"
Bruce Kulick (2009)
Non-makeup-era axeman discusses KISS tenure and latest album, "BK3"
Mike Japp (2005)
A discussion with KISS collaborator on the "Killers" and "Creatures Of The Night" albums
Dick Wagner (2004)
KISS' favorite "ghost" guitarist discusses his guitar playing on "Destroyer" and "Revenge"
Jesse Damon (2003)
Former member of Silent Rage on his collaborations with Gene Simmons
Stan Penridge (2000)
Peter Criss' right-hand man talks Chelsea, Lips and working with the Catman
Bruce Kulick (1999)
Guitarist talks Union project with John Corabi, Eric Carr and ESP
Sean Delaney (1998)
A brief encounter with the "fifth" member of KISS
Bob Ezrin (1998)
Former KOL webmaster Michael Brandvold grills the legendary producer regarding his work with KISS
Non-KISS Band Members
Derrek Hawkins (2011)
KISS fan and former rhythm guitarist in Ace Frehley's band recalls his stint with the Spaceman on tour and recording "Anomaly"
Art Lindauer (2011)
Guitarist/vocalist discusses working with a pre-KISS Eric Carr in the cover band trio Flasher.
Adam Mitchell (2010)
Songwriter/collaborator recalls working with KISS, Vinnie Vincent and writing songs on "Killers," "Creatures Of The Night," "Crazy Nights," and more.
Bobby Rock (2010)
Powerhouse drummer recalls his wild ride with the Vinnie Vincent Invasion.
Rich Circell (2008)
Lead singer discusses working with Ace Frehley in pre-KISS band Honey.
Mike McLaughlin (2006)
Guitarist on his personal musical path and work with Peter Criss, Criss' "One For All" album, and much more
John Henderson (2004)
Musician shares his memories of collaborating with a young Paul Caravellos (Eric Carr) and his memories of Carr's pre-KISS bands
Neal Teeman (2003)
Uncle Joe drummer discusses working with Paul Stanley in pre-KISS band formed in 1966 and assistant engineering "Alive!"
Victor Cohen (2002)
Rhythm guitarist/keyboard player discusses working with Eric Carr in the Cellarmen
David Bartky (2002)
Bassist recalls his musical beginnings and collaborating with Eric Carr in the Cellarmen
Phil Naro (2002)
First lead vocalist of Criss recalls work with Peter Criss and ex-KISS guitarist Mark St. John
Jason Ebs (2002)
Final lead vocalist of Criss discusses his musical background and working with Peter Criss just before KISS' reunion in 1996
Robert "Bob" Pryor (2001)
Guitarist discusses his musical influences and working with Eric Carr in the Cellarmen
Ron Leejack (2000)
Wicked Lester guitarist recalls collaborating with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley prior to KISS
Ross Berg (2012)
A detailed conversation with the author of "Gene Simmons: A Rock 'N Roll Journey In The Shadow Of The Holocaust."
Paul Grein (2012)
Yahoo Chart Watch blogger and certified chart expert provides a current breakdown and analysis of KISS' Nielsen SoundScan totals.
Larry Harris (2009)
Former Casablanca executive dishes on his must-read book, "And Party Every Day: The Inside Story Of Casablanca Records."
Todd Schorr (2004)
Artist discusses designing the album cover for Peter Criss' first post-KISS solo effort, 1980's "Out Of Control."
Charles Frehley (2001)
Brother of Ace Frehley discusses his sibling and his own musical career.
Thanks to David for taking the time to answer this extensive Q&A and sharing his memories of the Cellarmen and Paul Caravello with his fans.
Into the cellar with David Bartky...
By Julian Gill
KissFAQ: Tell us a little of your background - i.e. where you grew up, your family, etc?
David Bartky: I was born and grew up in Brooklyn, USA. I am the middle child of a family with 3 boys - all born in Brooklyn. My younger brother, Stuart, died a couple of years after we lost Eric. My older brother lives down the road from me. My mother was English; she is gone about 17 years now. She and my father met during WW II. She became a war bride and moved here when it was over. She was born in North England - that makes her a Geordie. My father was born and raised in Brooklyn. Dat makes him one of us! I grew up playing punch ball and stick ball on the streets of Greenpoint. It was great.
KF: What sort of music was in your household growing up?
DB: We listened to show tunes, and guys like Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. I grew up on the WMCA Good Guys and W-A-Beatle-C. I used to listen to Elvis, The Four Seasons, and songs like "The Game of Love", "Love Potion Number Nine". Then the Beatles came out - I was blown away. I loved the British Invasion.
KF: Any performers/players in your family? What type of music?
DB: Nah. There were no musicians in my immediate family. In the extended family I had Aunts and Uncles on both sides that played piano, but I never really heard them play. In my family, I was the only one to pick up music.
KF: What artist would form your earliest memory of "music"?
DB: I guess the first artist I can remember was Nat King Cole. I was kind of crushed when he died. I was excited to see Natalie "perform" with her father. It was cool. My personal music playing began in the fourth grade. They picked a lucky few of us to learn what was then the flute-o-phone. Now they call it a recorder. In the fifth grade I began playing violin in the orchestra. That's where I learned to read music. I played until about the eighth grade. Then gave it up in favor of rock and roll.
KF: Which artist/genre first grabbed your attention as a "performer"?
DB: The Beatles. Everybody else was second.
KF: What groups/artists did you enjoy as you became aware of music as entertainment?
DB: The Beatles. Also the Four Seasons, Elvis, The Drifters, Gene "The Duke of Earl" Chandler, The Searchers (I never realized how prolific Lieber and Stoller were until I saw "Smokey Joes Cafe"), The Coasters, The Platters. I loved it all but The Beatles were the biggest.
KF: What was your favorite TV show, growing up, if you had access to a TV?
DB: I remember this big black box (a DuMont) on a cart with a brown rabbit ear antenna. Kind of reminds of me of the old Honeymooners where Norton has Ralph go out in the hallway for better reception. My parents had it in a spot where we could sneak out and watch when we were supposed to be sleeping. I hope my dad doesn't read this. During that period I remember the "Jackie Gleason Show". I remember "Leave it to Beaver". That's about it. I remember some Jack Paar but I don't know if it is my recollection or some retrospective shows that I've seen. I used to like Saturday Night at the Movies (I think on NBC) and "The Million Dollar Movie" on channel 9 in New York.
KF: How did you get into music, as playing, rather than simply listening or enjoying?
DB: It was school that got me started. I kinda answered this previously I guess. I started on the flute-o-phone (a little black plastic flute) in school (PS 132 in Brooklyn). Then I went on to violin through Junior High.
KF: What was your first instrument, and what led you to choose the bass?
DB: My friends were trying to form a band. They needed a bass guitarist. I said sure. I took about 2 lessons on the bass before I said - uh-uh - this is way too slow and certainly is not Rock and Roll. So I just started listening and playing and reading some music to find the bass riffs.
KF: What was your first bass, and when and how, did you get it?
DB: My first bass was a Kent. I got it used for about 25 bucks. I don't really remember how I got that one.
KF: When did you make the transition from simply playing bass, to joining a band, and what was your first band?
DB: I took the bass because the guys that were forming the band had a drummer and a guitarist. They wanted me to play bass, so I did. It turned out fine; I think I was suited for the bass.
KF: How did you meet Victor Cohen?
DB: I met Victor in high school (good old George W. Wingate). I think it was in language (Hebrew). He was a year behind me, but I guess in language it doesn't matter. I don't remember how we came about talking about music but the band I was in (I guess I really shouldn't call them a band since we only practiced about 3 times) was looking for a rhythm guitarist. I found out Victor played the guitar and asked him if he would like to play in a band. He came over my house; by this time I was in Crown Heights (712 Crown ST. to be precise). He came over and blew me away with his finger picking in "Draft Dodger Blues". I thought he was great! Finger picking and all. I brought him to the band and they agreed.
KF: You and Victor saw an ad Paul had placed at Lee's Music Store, who called Paul to set up the audition/meeting? How soon after you called did you meet Paul?
DB: Yeah. Victor was tired of our "so called" band. It never did anything. He wanted to go around looking for something else. It took a lot of convincing from him. We went to Lee's (by the way - that is where I got my Hofner Bass that I still have) to check it out. Victor found a few cards. We called this one that was looking for a rhythm and lead guitar. I told him forget about it - I'm not a lead I'm a bass. He said, what do we have to lose? He dialed the number and made the arrangements. He asked the guy on the phone if it was okay that we were rhythm and bass and he said sure (that was Paulie). We met the next week in April (Palm Sunday I think).
KF: Describe your first encounter with Paul?
DB: Victor and I walked into 1043 Belmont Avenue with our equipment (not much in those days). The second I saw Paul I thought to myself - god - this guy looks like Paul McCartney. He was almost a year younger than I was but he already had a heavy beard (dark that is). He had his hair in a Beatle cut.
KF: Did you have any lasting first impression about him?
DB: I thought this guy is great. He had a Beatle look and drummed and sang at the same time. He had a great voice. I thought this guy is it. At the same time, I think he was impressed with us, being able to read music and play a tune off the cuff (the first song ever performed by The Cellarmen was "All My Loving" by the Beatles). It wasn't even in the cellar. We auditioned up in the living room. I think the fact that we could read music and get a song going that quickly impressed Paul. For us, his talent and drive were apparent from the very beginning.
KF: Bob Pryor - when you and Victor auditioned, or met Paul, was Bob already part of the picture? Or did he join the band after you?
DB: Bob joined us after the Cellarmen were formed. We needed a lead guitarist. His reputation around Wingate was well known. I played stickball with Bob in the school yards of Crown Heights. I can't remember how it came up but he was the final Cellarmen and we sounded damned good with Bob. He also introduced to instrumentals. The first of which was "Wipe Out" with an Eric solo - I'm not sure that is around these days. But we played other Venture tunes like "Pipeline" and "Perfidia". Paulie was the lead singer so he welcomed these respites.
KF: The Cellarmen played plenty of cover material, was this initially what the band worked on, or were you interested in developing original material from the start?
DB: We were always interested in originals. We wanted to use the covers to get known and the originals to get famous and rich. We were a cover band - but we were not an "Imitation" band. We played in battles of the bands with the likes of "The Marshmallows" at the Ablemarle Towers in Brooklyn. They were a Beatle Cover band. They sounded like them and looked like them That was not us. We covered their songs but in a very "Cellarmen" way.
When we played Beatles, you knew it was a Beatle song; but you knew it was the Cellarmen doing the Beatles. Not exactly like the record - but in a way, as far as we were concerned - better. Not that we were better than the Beatles - how could you be better than the Beatles or the Stones for that matter. But when you were out there on the dance floor, you knew you were listening to the Cellarmen. No matter what song they did.
KF: Describe your first proper rehearsal with the Cellarmen?
DB: Well... guess where that one was... and 95% of the others. It was in the basement of 1043 Belmont Ave. probably one of my favorite spots in the world. We took the audition and it turned into a rehearsal a week or so later. We found Bob and turned into the complete Cellarmen. I remember Paul's sisters, both of them looking very hot, listening. I wound up marrying Sisie (Maria). And she is still hot!!!
KF: What do you recall of your first gig with the Cellarmen? How did it go? Where was it? How many people did you perform for? Any mishaps?
DB: Hmmm... Our first gig. There were a couple of "first" times. I remember walking up the block from 1043 Belmont Ave. to a Sweet Sixteen. The girls loved it. So did we. No mishaps - only fun. I remember playing another Sweet Sixteen at the Gil Hodges bowling Alley. I think we actually got paid for that one.
We played at a battle of the bands at Wingate High. That was in front of a couple of hundred people. I blew the bass line to "Talk Talk" by The Music Machine. The guys cracked up - I was as embarrassed as ever.
Our first real gig was The Colonial House. That was the first time we had to get people dancing and moving. It's the one you hear Al (Paulie's dad) talk about in the "Tale of the Fox". We weren't all legal yet. I'll tell you, that place had about a fight a weekend but we loved it. There was this blond girl Paulie was interested in - they talked quite a bit. I don't remember her name.
KF: Describe the Cellarmen's best gig? Where/how/what/why? I guess this means most memorable!
DB: When we started at the Colonial House it was not very crowded. When we finished the Colonial House it was packed. We did the same thing to the Pad in Brooklyn. At the Ablemarle Towers the battle of the bands was played live on radio. Paul's sisters stuffed the ballot box. That was kind of nice.
KF: Describe the Cellarmen's worst gig? Where/how/what/why?
DB: We had a couple of not so good auditions. Most of it was because our equipment sucked. My bass amp was not enough to drive the building and the PA was makeshift at that time. There was a place in Brooklyn - damn, I can't remember the name of the place now, but I remember walking downstairs. It was a dance club - we got blown away by the size. I think that happened to us in The Village Barn upstate and a topless dance joint in the city too.
KF: Your band members. From most of the interview material, Paul is described as the "leader" of the Cellarmen. From your perspective, how was the band structured? How did you guys interact, was it equitable?
DB: This was the bone of contention that would break up the Cellarmen. We, that is, Victor, Bob and myself thought we were a democracy. Paul thought we were a democracy too, except that if the band had a leader he was it. And the truth of the matter, now when I look back - funny, Victor and I were discussing this last weekend - Paul should have been the leader. Let me see - he (or his dad) got 90% of our early bookings (pre-agent stuff), he drove the equipment around, he figured out 95% of the songs, sang lead in 95% of the songs... other than that, what did he do?
Paulie was talented and driven. We all knew we were democratic. Paul wouldn't have done anything without a majority of the band approving, so we were stupid in not saying Paul was the leader of the band. He was - we just never said it. The band might actually have gotten somewhere had we been as smart when we were younger as we are now.
KF: Who chose, or how did the band choose, the material that the band performed?
DB: We all picked songs. We tried to hold to whoever picked the song had to figure most of it out. Paulie was best and quickest at this. But we all did it. Bob liked stuff with a lot of harmony so he would pick songs by The Association like "Cherish" (sorry Bob but I hated that shit) and Vanilla Fudge's version of "You Just Keep Me Hangin' On" (I loved this one). I don't remember Victor figuring anything out but he sang Sam the Sham and the Pharaoh's "Little Red Riding Hood" and a couple of other songs. I liked Beatles and (sorry guys) Monkees ("Last Train to Clarksville", stuff like that).
But, as I said before Paulie figured out most of the stuff. I remember this old Piano that Al (Eric's dad) found and put down the Cellar. Paulie started doodling on that and got quite good at figuring things out on that thing. I'm sure he did "Strawberry Fields," "Lady Madonna," and "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" on that piano. He had some ear.
KF: "I Cry At Night" and "Your Turn To Cry" were two original songs, which were recorded and pressed onto an independent single for distribution. What do you recall about the recording sessions for these songs?
DB: Not much about the recording sessions. For some reason I remember going downstairs and recording in a basement. It felt very natural to us.
The records pressed had a pink label. They were 45's but not the size of a 45 (for those of you who don't know what a 45 is - it's a vinyl record played at 45 RPM). They were the size of albums with both cuts on one side. The other side was blank.
My record is with this guy Jack. I forgot his last name. He had a penciled in mustache (at least it looked that way to us). He was going to do great things for us - right. In the mean time, it turns our I'm the only one without the original cut.
KF: How many takes did it take to get the songs down?
DB: We were pretty limited in time and had the songs down pretty tight. It was the days where everything was recorded live. No overdubbing. Maybe 3 tries. If anybody said we did it in one take, it wouldn't surprise me.
KF: Any transitions in the arrangements that took place while they were recorded?
DB: No. We had these down pat.
KF: Who "produced", and where were they recorded?
DB: I forget. It could have been the guy from Jody Records. I'm not sure. Somebody who still has their version of the record might be better able to answer this. Basically, we did our own stuff.
KF: Was the recording lineup: David/Paul/Bob/Victor?
DB: Yup - no substitutes.
KF: Any friends hang out with you while you recorded?
DB: Just Paul's family on these.
KF: Were those songs ever performed live, and if so what do you recall of the first time they were played live? How were they received by the audience?
DB: Yes. I can't remember when or where but why would you write something and not perform it?
KF: The Cellarmen returned to the studio around 1968 (can you confirm date) to record two slightly psychedelic songs, "Then I Made A Wish" and "I Found You" for a private pressing of approximately 15 copies which was pressed for songwriter's to publish their material. Do you remember who the songwriters were?
DB: The name Margolis rings a bell. I remember being in this room with a piano and the writers. I'm pretty sure Mr. Caravello was there too. They got pissed off at us once or twice because we rearranged some of the songs. They got over it. Other than that - I don't remember.
KF: Do you recall who played the organ on the songs?
DB: Was there keyboard on these songs? Victor was our keyboard man; I guess if there was organ, Victor played it. That's hard to remember. There was trumpet player - I have no idea where that guy came from. I think he made more money than us combined for six notes of music played 3 times (I guess that means 18 notes) bah, bah bah - descending notes. Man, it paid to be a trumpet player in those days.
KF: What was the lineup of the band that recorded those songs?
DB: The core band was the usual, David/Paul/Victor/Bob as you have a listed in a prior question. It's funny, I told you in a previous answer that there was no overdubbing. Well guess what... I remember watching the trumpet player put his 3 notes to our music. So by this time there was overdubbing. Our stuff was recorded "live". This one took a few takes. I remember the producer, a black man, telling me "Bassie, you ready to get it right this time". I don't know why I had trouble on this but I did. It took several tries.
KF: Where/when were the songs recorded? Any producer?
DB: There were a few people in the studio. The black guy I mentioned. Some others. I'm not sure if this was from Jody records or this guy Vinny that I think came up to Victor at one of our Queens gigs. Either way - that's about all I remember of it.
KF: The Cellarmen also recorded two songs, "No Matter How You Try" and "When You Grow Tired" as the backing band for Chrystal Collins who was a friend of the band? What was Chrystal's connection with the band?
DB: I believe this was a Jody records connection. She came down the Cellar and rehearsed with us. Just about everything about that was The Cellarmen. Arrangement and all. I didn't take part in the harmonies but Paul, Bob and Victor did. The chords were written but lead, bass and drums were done by the band (drums, Paul, lead Bob and bass me). We made that thing. Chrystal was cute. Her grandma came with her to the Cellar and the recordings. Somebody once told us that the record made number 1 in Austin, Texas. We never believed it.
KF: What was the lineup of the band that recorded those songs?
DB: The usual Cellarmen. The Cellarmen only had one line up. Either we all played or nobody played.
KF: Do you recall how the Cellarmen got the gig to record as her backing band?
DB: I think Jody records got us the gig. For some reason I remember being under an El in Brooklyn while the wheels for the gig were rolling.
KF: Where/when were the songs recorded? Any producer?
DB: I remember being in a studio. I remember the mikes and the partitions between amps... Can't remember much else.
KF: Any idea what became of Chrystal?
DB: Nope - she disappeared.
KF: Did the Cellarmen perform other original material? And if so, what were the titles and authors of the songs?
DB: No. That was it. We might have rehearsed other stuff but we never performed it other than in the Cellar.
KF: The Cellarmen seemed to "stop" during 1969. What caused the band to split up?
DB: We broke up. I was talking to Victor and he remembers that we broke up because we never admitted that Paul was the leader. Somebody asked who the leader of the band was (I think I actually remember this) and the three of us answered, "we don't have a leader". Paul got hurt and not long after decided that was it. He no longer wanted to be a Cellarmen. In those days, I couldn't believe it. These days, I say to myself, "What, were we stupid or something?" Like I answered in a previous question, we were a democracy but even democracies have leaders. It was dumb on our part.
KF: Victor worked with Paul in other bands following the demise of The Cellarmen, while you reportedly worked with Paul's sisters in a band. Tell us about this band with Loretta and Sissy - is it true you did a TV appearance?
DB: Sisie, Loretta and I formed a band for fun. We didn't try to do anything professionally. The girls had great voices. I think if they had a mind to they could have been a success. Good voices are good voices. They have them. We did not do TV. We did perform locally. That was it. Actually, The Cellarmen did a TV show that was never released. It would be fun to find out if there are any tapes left of that.
KF: You, Victor, and Bob formed Smack with Marty and Gary. How did you hook up with those two musicians? What sort of material did Smack perform, and did this first lineup play live?
DB: My memory is going but I think... Victor remembered Gary from a gig (battle of the bands maybe?? or just several groups playing at once... I'm not sure. Marty was Bob's and my friend at Wingate. I think it was actually Bob that convinced him to join the band. My memory is fuzzy about how. But Marty came on board and we were whole again. It took two to complete the one with Paul.
KF: Do you recall what bands Paul was working in while you guys were in Smack - I've read he had a garage jam band called "Things That Go Bump In The Night" of which Victor was also a member?
DB: Another hmmm question. Victor a member of "Things that Go Bump in the Night"? I think Victor was a member of Smack at that time. Paul later rejoined Victor in "Salt & Pepper" "Creation" and "MNFT". I heard "Things that Go Bump in The Night". They rehearsed in the garage, not the Cellar. I felt bad for Paulie at that time. I knew what he was trying to do - get heavy, forget about a dance band - play good music. They were okay, but very heavy for those days. It was later that Paulie joined up with Victor again. Out of Paul's first bands he played professionally with Victor the longest. He played with me for fun the longest - now that I think about it - I guess that is out of any of the players he knew from day one.
KF: What led to Marty leaving Smack?
DB: Marty had decided he wanted to go to summer camp. We couldn't believe it, but he chose that over being Smack. We spoke to him recently, and he can't believe he made that decision either, since he was having great fun. Let's state for the record though, that Marty is very successful in the education field in New York. His decision was right for him!
KF: How tough was it to persuade Paul to join the band for the summer of 1970?
DB: Not too tough at that time. He was between things. He helped us take Smack and bring it to being a very popular band in upstate New York.
KF: Describe Smack's best gig? Where/how/what/why? I guess this means most memorable!
DB: We took the Willow Inn, in Armonk, New York, that was an empty eatery to a very successful crowded night club in a matter of months. The dance floor became a place for people to dance to a size that was way too small to dance on. Victor says the place is still there but it is more of an upscale place than when we used to play.
KF: Describe Smack's worst gig? Where/how/what/why?
DB: I can't remember a bad gig with Smack. For the most part, we took The Willow Inn and made it one of the most popular places to be!
KF: You married Paul's sister Sissy? Would you care to comment about that, and did you have a fun wedding?
DB: Fun wedding!!! What would you do if this long haired guy with a big moustache in an Econoline van pulls and says - "You Ready"? Well that is what happened when Paulie came to pick me up. Here, Sisie (which is the way we all spell it) is riding in a limo that I arranged for and I'm in a tux with a guy that will soon be a rock star but for now is a long haired guy in a tux!!!
We had our wedding at Leonard's of Great Neck. It was fun and a bit unusual since I was Jewish and Sisie was Catholic. My band mates were there. My family and in-laws were there. It was great. It would have been nicer if they would have let us play, but the band was stuck up and would not let us use there equipment. Which brings up our engagement party - we played there and it was a gas!!! Everybody loved it. It was The Cellarmen reunited.
KF: What have you been doing in the time since your involvement with these two bands? Did you continue in bands and do you still play?
DB: I auditioned for a band after Smack. The agency we were with was trying to get things going for bands that broke up and needed pieces. I got sent to this trio that expected me to sing "Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog" by 3 dog night. Not only couldn't I stand 3 Dog Night (I felt they were one of the first contrived bands, put together like these boy bands are these days) I hated that song. I felt out of place without friends around. I wanted to make it, but I wanted to make it with my buddies, not a bunch of strangers. I didn't have that drive to make it under any circumstances. I needed my buddies. I gave up the idea of making it professionally at this point. I still play.
In fact Smack with Marty as the drummer, is going to get together again soon for a jam session. I'm looking forward to that. I played with Eric when he came to our house or his parents' house for holidays. I play with the wife when she feels like she wants to play. I play with my daughter. She is good. She is thinking of making a go of it. She has inherited the best of all worlds with the talent of her Uncle Eric, me and her mom. She can do it. We'll see soon if she has the drive.
KF: Did you ever see a "Things That Go Bump In The Night" rehearsal/gig? Comment?
DB: I heard them practice in the garage. They were heavy but I think had a tough time coming up to the talented Eric.
KF: Did you ever see a "Salt 'N Pepper" rehearsal/gig? Comment?
DB: Yes. An extraordinary cover band. They sounded a lot like the records they covered. I know Paul was happy doing this stuff, but I'm positive he wanted to be more than a cover band.
KF: Did you ever see a "Creation" rehearsal/gig? Comment?
DB: There was a point where I didn't see the bands rehearse or play. I think it was about this time.
KF: What do you recall of the events surrounding the Gulliver's fire in 1974? Did you and Paul ever discuss that incident, and how well did he cope with the situation?
DB: I remember a call in the middle of the night and the uncertainty of what was going on. We had not heard from Paul in quite a while. It was much later in the day that we learned he was safe. He seemed to cope on the outside fairly well. I knew George but did not know Damien, both members of the band that died in the fire. All I could think of was thank God it wasn't Paul, because he could have been gone just as easily. It was those three guys that stayed behind, telling everybody else to remain calm as they left the building. I think Eric making the line up of KISS was god's way of saying I am going to need you in a few years so this is the gift I give to you to enjoy before that call. Corny, but that is what I think. And enjoy he did. He had all of us enjoying his work.
KF: Did you ever see a "Mother Nature/Father Time" (MN/FT) rehearsal/gig?
DB: I don't remember. I think we saw all the bands; even the name changes.
KF: Did you ever hear the "Lightning" (1979) album Paul recorded with members of MN/FT? Do you recall any excitement as the album was released, and did Paul ever comment about it, and getting signed to Casablanca?
KF: Did you ever see a "Flasher" rehearsal/gig? Comment?
DB: I think they rehearsed in the Garage. They were okay. Nothing more.
KF: Did you ever see a KISS concert with Paul drumming for them?
DB: Several. When they were in town we would go backstage. I'm sure the fans said "who the fuck is that". Who does he know? Well, I knew Eric Carr. It was great. As good as he was with us, damn, he got so much better.
KF: During the years following your involvement in bands with Paul, did you ever just jam together, or have any musical interaction with him?
DB: All the time. Whenever there were special occasions we would pick up guitars and harmonize away. I miss my harmonizing buddy.
KF: Using just one word, please describe Paul Caravello:
KF: Please describe your most memorable, mentionable (I respect that there may be some very private memories of Paul, but would love for you to be able to comment on an interesting, humorous, or simply memorable occasion), memory of Paul?
DB: I remember Paul coming over to our house in East Flatbush telling us that he was going to audition for KISS. He played us (his sister Maria, my wife, and I) a tape and asked us what we thought. He was looking for some good critical comment but I had none. We both were floored. It sounded terrific. The rest is history.
I think I've told this one before, but it was funny when it happened. After one of our early gigs at the Colonial House in City Line I was driving Paul home in my parent's car (a 1963 Chevy Impala) on an icy night. I stopped at stop sign on Pitkin Ave. and the car slid slowly to the right and into another car by the curb. We just looked at each other and got out of the car. He said - let's push it - I looked at him like he was crazy. He said come on - well we pushed the car side ways on the ice, checked the other car out for damage (none) and drove off like nothing had happened. We were cracking up.
I remember going to Victor's summer hide away and sleeping late. The guys, including Paulie, sent in a couple of girls to wake me up... of course nothing happened.
I remember Paulie getting upset that I didn't know that he was playing the electronic pads at the KISS concerts. When I heard the bass notes, I was looking to see where Gene was. He got pissed at me - but only for a little while. How was I to know there was no bass guitarist around? I didn't think that a drummer could play bass!!!
KF: Final words - your space! Is there anything you would like to address to Eric Carr's fans, and also those who've enjoyed the music of The Cellarmen?
DB: I'm glad Eric made it. He did it for all his band mates. It is like a story you see in the movies where unfortunately, the good times come to an end with an ending that doesn't make much sense. Eric loved being a Rock Star and always respected his fans. He worked hard for it. He got lucky. He never forgot that. That is why the fans love him still. He was always reachable. He was always one of them that made it. He made it for The Cellarmen. He made it for all of us. I had great fun being a Cellarmen. I have great fun being an Eric Carr fan.