( AM 1450/100.9 FM )
Tonightís featured artist is James Barry Keefer. Keith. On wrco those were the days. Thanks for joining us on this Saturday night.
Phil: Joining us on wrco is Keith, good to talk to you after all these years.
Keith: Phil, My pleasure.
Phil: You are one of those that still getís requested a lot here. And weíre Glad to have you on the show, are you busy these days?
Keith: Well I got my fingers in a lot of pies. As, I always have, Musically, TV wise. Itís just non-stop.
Phil: Thatís good. Well I know you are touring a lot, are you appearing on the bill with other artistís from the same era?
Keith: Oddly enough Iím not. Thatís in the works though, I hooked up with my producer of mostly all my hits Jerry Ross a couple months ago, and he is trying to get a package together of Jay and the Techniques, Bobby Head, and all the acts that he produced. And go out and do a Jerry Ross tour, I guess it would be called.
Phil: Sure, You know that would kind of be like a family reunion for you wouldnít it?
Keith: It certainly would.
Phil: You know as we look back of course everyone probably remembers 98.6. That probably is playing on the radio somewhere right now isnít it?
Keith: I believe it gets played more now then it actually probably did twenty years ago.
Phil: Is that right?
Keith: Yeah, I talked to one of the writers George Fishoff and he said yeah, it was, he was actually making more off of it now then he was back then.
Phil: Unreal. That was a top ten record for you wasnít it?
Keith: Yes, Well it went to number one in billboard and I think the top 5 in cashbox.
Phil: And as you look back on those days were you just on a constant whirlwind tour?
Keith: Whirlwind would not be the word, it was basically a tour, for two years I was out on the road, it all became very blur like, but I got a chance to hook up with frank zappa to sing lead when Mark and Howard left, to actually grasp more of the places that I had been that I recalled and put them into a memory bank.
Phil: It actually was a big hit. Did you know it was going to be a big hit when you were in the studio, 98.6?
Keith: At that particular time I did not. Because I had been coming up from an accapella background in high school, and then getting into music after I got out of high school, and before I went into college. I was more into the English rock and that was the stuff that I was writing and performing at frat parties all up and down the east coast. And When I hooked up with jerry he put me more into that pop commercial vein, and after hearing the song I remember calling my wife at the time and saying you wouldnít believe what they have me singing, and I sang it to her over the phone. No, I had no idea.
Phil: So that wasnít the style that you were used to in another words?
Phil: Now did you hear somebody else sing it on the demo form?
Keith: Ah, gee that is a good question. No I donít think I ever heard a demo because, Jerry would have the writers come right in and sit down at the piano and Kenny Campbell, who had a song on the album, Doc Pompous those guys would just come in and play. And thatís how they would teach you the song.
Hi this is Keith and you are listening to wrco.
Phil: Joining us at wrco those were the days is Keith.
Weíve heard from his biggest hit, but it was not his first hit, you may remember the song aint gonna lie. Keith I was looking at some charts the other day, and around the mid-west that song was top ten and number one in some markets, did you find that around the nation?
Keith: Yeah. Well Detroit I believe was the first city I went to in promoting the record, and I think it was like number one there then. Yeah the mid west was my area.
Phil: Do you remember going out on tour with any acts at that time, like the beach boys or anybody like that?
Keith: Oh yeah, I toured six months with them, on a U.S. tour, a great bunch of guys. It was like, I did shows with Stevie Wonder, Question Mark, Tommy James, Sam the sham, we were all under the same management, um, the Royal Guardsman, Lou Christie, I mean, just about anybody that was anybody at that time.
Phil: Your record label mercury was quite a label for artistís at that time wasnít it?
Keith: Yeah, there were a lot of popular bands on that label at that time.
Phil: I know that a lot of your fans look for your music, is there one collection out there that you would recommend, of some of your old stuff?
Keith: Well through my website I was contacted by I believe a guy in I believe in Ohio, through his website he located and grabbed on to a cd of everything that I ever recorded at mercury, thereís 27 songs on it and it is called the best of, and that is available. And Jerry Ross again, these were released in Japan in 96 and he was working to try and get them digitally remastered, in the united states but was having a problem finding a label to put it out, but he had it released in Japan, and in another month or so he said in the UK, and right behind it he would be able to re-release it here in the states.
Phil: Awesome, so that is pretty much all your solo stuff on there, then?
Keith: Yes everything. I mean things that werenít even on albums, all the singles, from those two albums, and they sound fantastic.
Phil: Thatís great, Probably better then back then.
Keith: Oh, yeah!
Phil: You know speaking of your website I need to put in a plug for that. Thatís how I discovered you, and itís really important and I hope that a lot of fans check it out, and maybe you can tell us a little about it Keith.
Keith: Its great. Itís www.keith986.com. And through it I have people like yourself, have been calling, I have been doing a lot of interviews on the radio, a lot of my old band mates and bands Grand funk railroad the guys from that got in touch with me, the rationals, I donít know if you are familiar with them or not.
Just A endless amount of fans and friends have gotten in touch with me, so yeah check it out, thereís a lot of info on what I have been doing and where I have been, itís been a total joy.
(Ainít Gonna Lie- plays)
Those were the days we are talking to some long lost rock and rollers including Keith.
Phil: Keith joins us on the line, and Keith where did you grow up?
Keith: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, started out there. And moved to Atlantic City New Jersey, and then back to the suburbs of Philly, and then I went to New York and lived a few years, during my record years. And now I have been out here in Redondo Beach, California for that last 30 something years.
Phil: Oh, You mentioned film, are you involved in music behind the scenes and things like that?
Keith: No, I am a television technician. Iím a camera operator everything audio I mean whatever. Iím a freelance guy, presently I have been working on Judge Judy, I have been doing that the last six years, Judge Joe Brown, Family Feud, to tell the Truth, The Test. It's just endless I have done hundredís of shows out here. And, at the same I am pitching a couple shows I created with my partner, to mtv, and vh1 and fox some musical shows that I would host.
Phil: Oh, I see.
Keith: So we are getting good feedback on that too.
Phil: So you have been on both sides of the camera over the years?
Keith: Yeah still plugging away!
Phil: Thatís good. I guess you have a lot of avenues. You never get bored with anything do you?
Keith: No, Itís been a wonderful, wonderful life and I still got a lot of stuff left to do.
Phil: Do people you meet every once in a while on the set, say hey I remember that song?
Keith: Yes, and oddly enough there is a handful of people that are working in the business, the guy drummer from ď13 floor elevatorĒ. I bump into people all that time that Iíve played with this guy or in this band, ďQuiet RiotĒ, itís amazing it seems like when all else fails in the music business you go into television.
Phil: We are talking with Keith. Those were the days wrco.
Probably one of my favorite songs , I guess it is my favorite song is tell me to my face.
Keith: I get that a lot, on my website, itís actually Cassandra my web queen her favorite song. The story behind that was I was over in England doing the Jimmy Savoy show in Manchester, and the Hollies were on the bill and we had some downtime before we started taping and this guy was kind of like a English Red Skelton, we met, and they said can we write a song for your next album, and I said sure, and they went into the bathroom, Tony hicks and Allan Clarke, Graham Nash and in twenty minutes they came out and had written that song.
Keith: And the rest is history.
Phil: Yeah. That is a good one. Were you very successful in England?
Keith: Yeah I was. I always got a lot of fan mail from there and people always wondering when I was coming back to perform and they were really up on what my product was it was pretty cool.
(Tell me to my face- plays)
Phil: Thatís Keith on wrco those were the days. Keith, are you still recording some songs these days?
Keith: Yes, Iím constantly doing that; I hooked up with Donny and Marie because I worked on that show for two years.
Keith: Their music director Jerry Williams who has been with them for like 25 years, he and I collaborated on a few things and heís been busy in Nashville and abroad but when he gets back, we are going to lay these things down, so weíll see what happens.
Phil: Awesome. Well listen itís been a pleasure talking with you and thanks for calling us today.
Keith: Phil, itís been my pleasure.
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