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-Intro 98.6 playing.
Corky: As I had asked before who was the artist to that song, if you know who sang that song we’ll give you a real nice prize. And we have a caller on the line here, yes caller you’re on the air.
Caller: Yeah, Corky I just want to say you’re the best!
Corky: Oh, Thank you, very, very much do you know who the artist was?
Caller: I can name that artist in one name
Corky: All right, who was it?
Caller: That was Keith.
Corky: Now how do you know that?
Caller: Because I am Keith!
Corky: Hey Keith, Welcome (laughing) welcome, welcome to Corky’s time machine how are you?
Keith: I’m doing Fantastic!
Corky: Excellent! Excellent! The legendary Keith, I’m honored to have you on the program.
Keith: Well it’s my pleasure.
Corky: Ok now should we start at the beginning? I’d like to talk to you for a while if I could.
Keith: Whatever you need my friend.
Corky: Ok, lets start at the beginning. Philadelphia Pennsylvania, you’re a Philly guy?
Keith: Yes I am.
Corky: How did it all start for you?
Keith: Well it started when I was actually in elementary school.
Keith: I was hosting and performing in plays, that my teacher at the time would do auditions for in the classroom playing piano. And I got up and sang and she said I was great for this play, so I did a bunch of plays.
Corky: What school was this? We get a lot of Philly listeners.
Keith: Clifton Heights High School.
Corky: Clifton Heights.
Keith: Outside of Philly.
Keith: And from there I started putting bands together, acappella groups from guys at the school and then went on and joined other groups, acappella groups, and we started playing instruments as the Beatles were coming around, and
Corky: We are talking about the late fifties right?
Keith: This was the late fifties the early sixties.
Keith: From there, the group I had at the time we were performing at a local catholic school dance that was hosted by a name I am sure you will recognize DJ Kal Rudman,
Corky: Oh, of course.
Keith: And he kind of discovered us, and turned us onto Jerry Ross who was a local successful producer of the time, who had a lot of big songs on the east coast.
Corky: Had a lot of connections.
Keith: Yes. He took us in the studio at Columbia and we recorded a few things there that weren’t very successful, but he suggested I go solo. And he had a song for me called “Ain’t Gonna Lie”
Corky: Oh, Ok, “Ain’t Gonna Lie”. So that was the first single?
Keith: That was my first single.
Corky: As a solo artist?
Keith: As a solo artist.
Corky: Ok. Because I know earlier you a had group called the Admirations.
Keith: Those were the guys on Columbia, yeah.
Corky: Yeah, ok. Excellent, excellent, and so it all started and we are going into the early sixties now.
Corky: Ok, where did Keith come from? Can we give your name away or would you rather keep it a secret?
Keith: Well it’s on my website, it was originally James Barry Keefer.
Keith: And all my bands that I had were either Keif abbreviation of Keefer and the shadows, keif and the bell-airs
Keith: and when I hooked up with Jerry we found out that Keif was a Moroccan drug. So we couldn’t use that.
Keith: So he said you will become Keith.
Corky: Keith! So that’s how it all started.
Keith: How it came about.
Corky: Incredible, so you recorded “Ain’t Gonna Lie”, and that did make the top forty I believe.
Keith: Yes it did. That was very successful, did a lot of touring, promoting and had a blast.
Corky: Excellent, Excellent!
Keith: And went back into the studio and recorded 98, six months or so later, and with a bunch of other tunes because we were getting ready to do a album, and that came out and
Corky: The rest is history.
Keith: Exactly my Friend!
Corky: I believe, was that let me see, that would be early 67, if you are testing my musical knowledge.
Keith: You’re very, very good, sir.
Corky: It would have been released in very early 67.
Keith: We actually recorded it in March of 66.
Keith: And it was released in yeah 67.
Corky: Excellent what came after 98.6?
Keith: Well, we did a slew of singles, we did the album, and we did a song called “Tell Me To My Face”. I was on tour promoting 98.6 on a local hour comedy show, The Jimmy Savoy Show, in Manchester, England.
Corky: I see.
Keith: Where I was On the bill with the Hollies, and a bunch of other people, but we started talking and they said we would like to write your next single for you and I said great, and they went into the bathroom Tony Hicks, and Alan Clarke and Graham Nash for twenty minutes, came out and had the song “Tell Me To My Face”.
Corky: Wow incredible, you remember Charlie Gracie right?
Keith: Sure do, “Butterfly”!
Corky: Butterfly! He just, not just but last year he did a song and Graham Nash sang back up on it, it’s excellent!
Keith: He lives probably maybe 3 miles from me.
Corky: When I’m sick he guest hosts the show for me, so..
Keith: That’s very nice, good!
Corky: That’s what we do, whenever I’m sick usually I’m sick in the mind and body, he guests hosts for me and he’s a great friend, and I will tell him you said “Hi”.
Keith: Yes, I had that 45.
Corky: Excellent, Excellent! Ok, now like so many people, a couple weeks ago I talked to Gary Lewis and some others like so many people in the late sixties, you answered your country’s call.
Keith: Yes. Briefly.
Corky: All right, when was that?
Keith: That was in I guess it was 68.
Keith: I got the letter and went to the draft office, not noting that it wasn’t 8:30 in the morning, it was 8:30 at night.
Corky: Ah, ok..
Keith: So there was a bunch of mistakes as far as where I should have been and when, it all ended up for the better, I ended up making coffee for the generals.
Corky: Making Coffee for the generals (laughing)
Keith: At Ft. Dicks.
Corky: Oh Gee wiz, now like so many of the others that had done that, that puts a damper in the career, when you take that time off, and I mean you know I don’t want to get morbid here, but it puts a real nick in the career doesn’t it?
Keith: Well it did, because well for that period of time. There was no product and oddly enough I was all ready butting the tide with the kind of music I was doing compared to what was out at that time.
Keith: It had become more that my music was less attractive as the others had grown, you know what I mean.
Corky: Well in some people’s minds, but not certainly in mine or the fans of corkys time machine.
Keith: Oh you are too kind.
Corky: Because we get requests for Keith all the time here, so what did you do, you came out of the service, and then did you try to resurrect?
Keith: Well I signed to RCA.
Corky: Can’t beat that.
Keith: Yeah And I hooked up with Teddy Darrell as producer, at this point in time I got to record songs that I had written myself, play and I got to pick the musicians, I had more control, and on the website I still get people that say that is their desert island album.
Corky: Wow! Wow! That’s a heck of a compliant.
Keith: I know. That was the “Adventures of Keith” album.
Corky: The “Adventures of Keith” album on RCA.
Corky: And it did pretty well; it did pretty well as far as…
Keith: Yeah, You know I was surprised myself.
Corky: Yeah, very well, very well. And time passes on, did you tour, were you traveling around, were you doing music, what did you do?
Keith: Well at that point around the early 70’s I was good friends with a gentleman named Zack Glickman, who was vice president of Frank Zappas label.
Keith: And handled Linda Ronstadt and Tom Waits and I relocated out here in L.A. and Zack said I want you to come out, Mark and Howard are leaving Frank Zappa, I’d like you to come out and sing lead for the mothers of invention.
Corky: Uh, huh.
Keith: So I packed up my family and moved out here in 72, and hung and sang with Frank all over the country, performing songs like “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow”.
Corky: And you see so many times and gee so many times they say what ever happened to and I don’t want it to sound that way, but you were working all the time, I mean you were working and the love of the music remained and you did music.
Keith: Well I mean, it never stopped I did that for a couple of years, then put together bands out here and performed locally up and down the west coast, up until the early 90’s.
Keith: And actually packing them in, I was always amazed; but I think that throwing money to the audience thing works.
Corky: That works too.
Corky: I had a group and not that this is an interview of me Keith, but I had a group for a while and I would pack them in wherever I worked as long as they put the name of the group up on the marquee.
Keith: And that was “Free Beer”!!!!
Corky: Yeah that was the name of my group. (Laughing) The thing was I couldn’t hold them. I could pack them in, but I couldn’t hold the crowd, they always left mad.
Keith: Well you’ve got “Bare Naked Ladies”. You know what I mean.
Corky: I wish I had bare-naked ladies. No that’s another story. So it brings us up to modern day, what are up to? What are you doing?
Keith: Well for the last ten years previous to this I had owned and operated my own recording studio, I had some major clients like Heiniken, and Yosinoya , that I was engineering and producing and doing the voice overs on commercials for them.
Keith: Kellogg’s I didn’t mention them, a partner and I did that for 5 years, and then around 88, the economy went south so I decided I had to do something else, and I got into the TV business, as a tech and for the last ten years I have worked on hundreds of shows technical directing and camera operating.
Corky: Do you do any editing?
Keith: I have not done editing yet.
Corky: Oh, I was going to say if you do editing, you just come right here I have a job for you.
Keith: The commute would kill me!!!!
Corky: Well you could commute; you know I could buy ya a helicopter.
Keith: Ah..You are a good man corky.
Corky: We could do editing and editing all the time and a little camera work too. Do you go out anymore, tour; do you go out and sing. Do you do gigs?
Keith: Well because of my website which I would like to mention if I could, www.keith986.com.
Corky: We’ll say it again.
Keith: Pardon me.
Corky: We’ll say it again before the end of the interview.
Keith: Ok good. Jerry Ross, my producer of all my hits who I hadn’t spoken to in 30 some years, contacted me and we had a long and lengthy wonderful conversation. He’s digitally re-mixed all of the albums and all the singles that we did on Mercury, I grabbed one from Japan on eBay, but he is trying to make it possible for it to be bought in the United States again, which is a great thing. And He wants to put a package together of all his acts, Jay and the Techniques, and myself and Bobby Hebb and go out and do something. So that’s in the works now.
Corky: Well you have my home phone number, and you have my studio number have Jerry give me a call, and I would be happy to push push on that cd.
Corky: You know so tell Jerry to call me.
Corky: That would be really cool. But as far as actually going out and performing you kind of have not done that in a while?
Keith: Well this business the TV business has just I mean absorbed me it’s just a wonderful, wonderful experience, where I have gotten the chance pitch show ideas that I would host to MTV and VH1, and I’m waiting to hear some stuff back on that. I just got an agent a few months ago for commercials. I have been going on auditions for that, so my time is just absorbed by these other things I am doing, but I sit down religiously every night and play and sing so.
Corky: You gotta miss it Keith, you got to miss the crowds the applause, you know out there and performing. You can’t tell me you don’t miss it.
Keith: Well I do, I cannot tell you I don’t. But I mean you do what you have to do.
Corky: Exactly. Exactly. Hey one day we will coax you up on stage somewhere we’ll do a little music.
Keith: Well that won’t be hard to do.
Corky: Keith it’s just incredible talking to you, you’re from the time of…what I’m trying to say is, I was so, how can, I’m going to get into trouble now,
Keith: Go ahead.
Corky: I loved the people like Gary Puckett, Keith, Gary Lewis, people like that, that were kind of like giving the alterative, from 1965 to 1970, the kind of music I kind of liked, I didn’t like the direction it was going, see I’m going to get politically in trouble here, I have always loved that kind of music. I was talking to Ron Dante, and he’s another one, I said would you get insulted if I called your music bubblegum? And he said Absolutely not, I’m so proud of it you know. And not that your music was bubblegum, because it’s certainly not. Its just good music. And I just love your kind of music.
Keith: Well I Thank you, obviously there’s still a lot of people, I mean I get people on the site, they’re into the songs, I mean the songs, they can tell when a cut was like re-mastered another way.
Keith: And it blows me away, that they’re really into that style of music as much as they are.
Corky: Absolutely. Believe me we love it. Believe me we love it.
Keith: Well I’m glad!
Corky: Keith what is your website if people want to come visit your website how can they do that?
Corky: Excellent, One more time.
Corky: OK, can they e-mail you from there or anything?
Keith: They can e-mail the site yes.
Corky: Another wards get in there and tell you how much they love you.
Keith: Of course!
Corky: Ok there you go, there you go.
Corky: Keith I am so happy that you came on Corkys Time Machine, when you are back out on the East Coast you got to call me, and actually I will leave and you can do the whole show. (Laughing) Since you are a technician, see when I sit there we do radio, and you will be able to hear us on www.wmv.net and then we are on television and we’re on the radio, so we’re all over the place.
Keith: Well this is good.
Corky: And I run my own camera. I’ve got little robot cameras all over the place, and you would have a blast.
Keith: Well consider it an invitation that I will take.
Corky: Absolutely, when you are out here, do you ever get out here? Do you have family out this way?
Keith: No, Well I do, wait what am I’m saying No.
Corky: (Laughing) they could be listening be careful.
Keith: I have two sisters that live out there.
Corky: Ok cool. Do you get out this way much?
Keith: The last time I was out there it was 1974. I sang the national anthem at the Vet for a Philadelphia Philly’s game.
Corky: Incredible, well you’re long over due.
Keith: I know.
Corky: To come back home and say hi to us folks over here.
Keith: All right it’s a date.
Corky: You know what I mean, thanks so much Keith, if you hold on I Just want to talk to you a little bit if I could and get some information, but ladies and gentlemen visit that website, what is it one more time. Keith.
Corky: Easy to remember, easy to remember Keith thank you so much! For coming on Corkys Time Machine. And you are welcome anytime.
Keith: Woo Hoo!
Corky: We’ll see you later.
Keith: Thanks Corky.
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