February 2012

Richard Marx – VLOG – Davy Jones February 29, 2012

Feb 29 2012
By: chimarx4
Categories: Blog

It was the winter of 1968 and aside from the Beatles, nothing on earth was bigger than The Monkees. In my house, however, The Monkees were everything. I didn’t really catch up to how life-changing The Beatles were until later. I think I knew the words to “Daydream Believer” and “I’m Not Your Steppin’ Stone” before I could speak in complete sentences. I….freaking….LOVED…The Monkees. I watched their show on TV every Saturday and begged my parents to buy me every record. One Christmas I even got the Matchbox car version of the Monkeemobile.
My father was friends with a guy in Chicago who did radio promotion, and that winter of ’68 he called my dad and said, “Isn’t your son a huge Monkees fan? I’m doing a radio event with them tomorrow. Would he want to meet them?” So my dad, God bless him, got me out of my first grade class and brought me downtown to the station. Peter Tork had just left the group but the other three were performing a concert the next night and doing radio to promote the show. I walked down a hallway and spotted Mike Nesmith first. My heart pounded a little faster. He was busy signing album covers but squeaked out, “Hey, kid,” with a smile. Around the corner came Mickey Dolenz, who actually spent 90 seconds talking to me and was very friendly. This was exciting for me, too, but I recall that I looked right at Mickey and said, “Where’s Davy?”

Davy Jones was, aside from Elvis, my boyhood hero. I loved The Monkees, yes….but it was all about Davy. He was so cool. His clothes, his moves, his voice, and he ALWAYS got the girl. I wanted to meet Davy more than anything.
You know that thing about meeting your heroes and how it can often be a total letdown? This was the polar opposite. The radio guy brought me into another room at the station and there sat Davy Jones, alone. He was only about 5′ 4 but when he stood up he seemed 6′ 6. He was handsome and had this big smile on his face. This was one of the most famous people on the planet and it was just me and him. He’d been told I was a big fan (how unique!) and he asked me lots of questions about myself and my family and what I liked at school, etc. Davy sat and talked to me for about 15 minutes. He drew a picture on a piece of paper and signed it for me, and put his arm around me as I left, giving me a hug.

He couldn’t have been more who I wanted him to be in that moment.

About 3 years ago I played a show in Pennsylvania outside Philly. I landed at a regional airport and was at baggage claim waiting for my bag, and one of the eleven people standing there waiting with me…was Davy Jones. He was as handsome as ever. I walked up to him and said, “Excuse me, Mr. Jones?” He looked at me and got this huge smile and before I could say another word he said, “Wow! Richard Marx!!! Man, I love your stuff!!!” I forced my brain to put that on hold and I said, “I’m so glad to see you because I have a story for you.” I told him every detail about how sweet and kind he’d been to me 40 years before, and he was genuinely happy to hear it. He told me about his kids and the farm he lived on in Pennsylvania and that he was all about horses. (I remembered he’d almost become a professional jockey in his youth.) And he said he still loved to perform. He said, “We’ve just got to keep doing it, right, man? It’s who we are.”

We said goodbye and that we both hoped we’d meet again. Hearing of his passing today from a heart attack has made me so sad, but so grateful to have a story like this about him to share. Just a few months before I met him in 1968 I was in my first grade class and it was “Show and Tell” time. The teacher called on me even though I wasn’t volunteering, and I said I didn’t have anything for her. She said, “Your parents told me you that you like to sing. Will you sing a song for the class?” I didn’t want to, but my legs somehow got my body to the front of the group, and everyone got quiet. I was brutally nervous and wasn’t even sure what to do. And then I just went with the one song I knew by heart: “I Want To Be Free” by The Monkees, sung by Davy Jones. It was the very first song I ever sang in front of anyone. I haven’t sung it since that day but I wanted to sing it today…for Davy.

God rest his sweet and kind soul.


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Richard Marx on the USA Today Grammy Nominee Article

Feb 07 2012
By: chimarx4
Categories: News

Hey there,

I want to comment on the piece that ran in today’s USA Today about the Song of the Year Grammy nominees. I was asked to do an interview about them, which I did a few days ago. All of us in show business know that a 20 minute phone interview is usually edited down to a piece that takes two or three minutes to read, and we can only hope that what’s left in the article is accurate. The printed quote attributed to me about Bruno Mars’ “Grenade” is actually the opposite of what I said. I made the point that the song tackles an age old theme but DOES, indeed, say it in a way I haven’t heard before. And my quote about Kanye’s “All of the Lights” is not exactly what I said, either. In my interview, the only connection I made to Eminem was that while his 2004 Song of the Year nomination for “Lose Yourself” was a lyric about overcoming odds and what I considered to be a universally relatable theme, “All of the Lights” is not a lyric which I can relate to personally.
I’m not sure where the miscommunication between the me and the writer occurred but I wanted to make this clear.
Thanks, and good luck to all the nominees.

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Blog – Glen Campbell – February 5, 2012

Feb 05 2012
By: chimarx4
Categories: News

We’re always good at celebrating the work of artists a day or a week too late. Nearly always immediately following their death. And a big part of that is the universally possessed frailty of “Don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” I’m writing this now because I’ve spent the last few days listening to Glen Campbell’s latest, and apparently last CD, “Ghost On The Canvas,” and I want to say this now..to anyone listening…while Glen’s still around.

I grew up on Glen Campbell. He had a tv show when I was a kid, and his records were played in constant rotation on the radio and on my family turntable. My parents loved him, my grandparents loved him, and so did I. It wasn’t until I became a professional musician that I not only found a true appreciation for his masterful guitar skills, but realized that his singing, which I took for granted, was out of this world amazing. I also learned about his dues paying background, and was further astounded. This guy played guitar on “Pet Sounds.” He played on “Strangers in the Night” by Frank Sinatra, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” by The Righteous Brothers, and “I’m a Believer” by The Monkees, among many others. He was a studio badass.

Then his solo career exploded in the 60s with songs like, “By The Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Galveston” and “Wichita Lineman,” followed by another huge wave of hits like “Southern NIghts” and “Rhinestone Cowboy.” But then, as will often happen with music careers, his success on the charts diminished. This didn’t stop him from continuing to tour, but by that time, I was one of the fans that sort of “moved on” and didn’t keep up with him. I’d hear about him in the tabloid press once in awhile when his private demons became public, but those headlines only bummed me out because I wanted to think of him as I remembered him from my childhood.

I was on a long concert tour about a dozen years ago and was flipping the dial on my hotel room tv when I spotted Glen singing live on a church stage somewhere. It was a Christian program and Glen was singing mostly gospel songs and hymns. It was live, and this was way before Autotune (not that Glen ever needed that) and I sat and watched and listened as my jaw fell further to the floor. His singing was sublime. It was deeply soulful, and true and yet vocally challenging. I’m not talking about “American Idol” style acrobatics that are designed to fake the listener into thinking you’re actually interpreting a song to get to the next round. I’m talking the “real shit.”

Witnessing this sparked a new interest in Glen that never waned. I kept up with what he was doing, even though much of the last decade there had been little to keep up with. When I started having some success as a writer-producer at Country radio I began asking various record company execs about me doing a new album with Glen. It became my pet dream project. I wanted to write songs for that voice which, even into his sixties then, was only, if anything, better. No one seemed to share my enthusiasm but many were eager to see if I had songs for their latest teen-pop-country-crossover act. If I’m honest, I could have knocked on more doors…and harder…to see if I could find someone interested in a new Glen Campbell album, but life and ongoing career got in the way. Besides, I didn’t even know the man. Had never met him and didn’t know anyone in his inner circle. It was simply a musical fantasy.

Within a couple years, another man who shared my fantasy turned it into reality. Julian Raymond got Capitol Records to release, “Meet Glen Campbell” in 2008. With Julian producing, he made an album with a much smarter concept than what I’d have done. Instead of original songs, he had Glen cover mostly hit songs by some of our finest contemporary and classic songwriters, but managed to turn them all into tracks that sounded like Glen invented them. Part of me wanted to hate the CD for my own insecure reasons, but I couldn’t. I loved it. And Glen was singing just as I wanted to hear him. In the now. How grateful I am to Mr. Raymond, envy and all.

Last year, Glen announced he was battling Alzheimer’s Disease and was releasing a farewell album, “Ghost On The Canvas” and doing his last round of concerts. The news made me so sad, and I found myself talking to people about Glen and listening to all his old catalog in my car whenever I was behind the wheel. I bought, “Ghost On The Canvas” the day it was released. But I kept finding excuses not to listen to it. It was hands down the most anticipated record in my world in ages, and I’d look at the cover and read the song titles, but I wouldn’t play it. And I didn’t give my unwillingness to do so much thought. “I want to really sit down and listen in my studio on great speakers and not have any distractions, and it’s too busy right now” was typical of the excuses I offered myself. So I didn’t listen…until last night.

Driving home from a gig I did about 2 hours away from my house, at around 10pm, I turned on my car iPod and let it play. The first song, “A Better Place,” had tears streaming down my face before the end of the first verse. I had to listen to that song 4 times before moving on to the others, and I listened to Glen Campbell all the way home. This morning I shared the record with my wife, who’s also a big fan of Glen’s voice. By the end of “A Better Place,” she was wiping away tears, too. I’m telling anyone and everyone I know to listen to Glen Campbell. I don’t even care which song or record. As long as it’s Glen.

I’ve never met Glen Campbell and likely never will. But I realized today that the reason I kept putting off listening to “Ghost On A Canvas” was because it appears to mark the end of Glen’s music. And that’s a reality I didn’t want to accept, and still don’t. It’s as if I do have a personal connection to him, but it’s all my own. So I’m spending some time celebrating the gift that is Glen Campbell’s talent…now…before it’s too late.

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Richard Marx iPad 2 Winners

Feb 02 2012
By: chimarx4
Categories: Blog

First, I want to thank everyone who submitted their videos for “Christmas Spirit.” I know some of you put a LOT of work into it and I loved watching all of them. Ultimately we couldn’t choose between Katie’s and Rebecca’s. So we’re calling it a tie and giving away two iPad 2s. Which will be Grand Prize and First Place. Congrats to the winners but again, thank you to EVERYONE who submitted videos. You guys totally rule. – Richard Marx

Grand Prize and 1st Place Winners –

Katie Sammer

Rebecca Robinson

2nd Place –

Jackie McQuinn

3rd Place –

Gail Wishna

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