|A Mailing List Interview with P. F. Sloan
- May 10, 2002
Q: Did you know there is a ship called the P.F. Sloan? ( http://www.downport.com/bard/bard/sara/sara5037.html )
A: Yes...it feels wonderfully strange...
Q: How do you deal mentally with any negative criticism of your work by reviewers?
A: I write them off as mental or demonic beings who can't help it..Anyway you learn 'praise or blame it's all the same... A quick story: a farmer had one son on his small farm and it was time to harvest the crops..okay? That afternoon out of the blue their one plow horse ups and runs away...The farmers neighbors say oh man what bad luck...how will you harvest the crops? the farmer says, good luck-bad luck its all the same! They write him off as crazy! Next day the horse returns with 8 wild horses! Man, they say what a stroke of great luck... you can sell them and buy more land! good luck bad luck he says its all the same...The next day his son breaks his leg trying to tame the wild horses...what bad luck they say! How will you harvest the crops? The next day the kings army comes by taking any healthy young man into the army and all the other farmers lose their sons but him....
Q: When you used to write songs for Dunhill they were done largely in the popular musical styles of the time. Is there a musical style that you model you current songs after?
A: I think, you mean like folk or pop or rock or jazz? I'll tell you the song itself it seems to decide..whether it'll be blues or folk ... i dont know...i am not thinking i'll write a blues song today, but if there is a desire there to write a blues song..one usually happens
Q: People often cite the mid '60s as a special time for music. What do you think was the ingredient that made that musical time so special?
A: Bill... i think the generation of people who were present at the time and embraced it...the worldwide breaking of the chains from 'programmed sociological norms'...to the love of new possibilities driven by the search for truth of unity and brotherhood, and run by the children of former slaves... i know that was my idea at the time...
Q: Will there be any new music coming out either on a regular label, or for fans, through the internet, as Brian Wilson and others have done?
A: i really do hope so...i have some wonderful songs completed....
Q: Please, Please, can you clear up the mystery of who sings lead on the original single of "Where Were You When I Needed You"? I have read that the single was Bill Fulton, the album was you, and later Rob Grill made a version. The songs on my single and album sound alike to my tintius tainted hearing.
A: okay sure..just cause i like ya...i sang the original record released as a single...it was pulled after it made the local radio charts....the company then insisted i put another singer on the record...enter Bill Fulton...new records were printed...the company then insisted we pull bill fulton from the record...end..ter rob grill.....who knows what version you have listened to?
Q: I also found a copy (if my mail order source comes through) of the Inner-Circle single "Goes to Show" and "So Long, Marianne". I'm excited because "So Long, Marianne" is my favorite Leonard Cohen song. Does anyone know the story behind this one? Were Sloan and Barri hoping for another Grass Roots?
A: You know,you never know..I thought The inner circle was another Dunhill put product out kind of group...but my memory is fuzzy on it...
Q: What Phil and/or Steve involved in the California/California Music projects by Bruce Johnston's Equinox records label?
A: I dont recall there being any, i could be wrong
Q: What Phil and/or Steve involved in the Dave Edmunds "London's A Lonely Town" recording?
A: You tell us...i dont beleive i was involved at all in that project
Q: I have heard that Phil was responsible for producing one of the Rolling Stones' big singles... I think it was "Paint It, Black." I'd love to hear more about this, if it isn't apocryphal... I would also like to hear, in the same topic, about other "ghost" producing jobs Phil may have done in the '60s.
A: I was involved in the production of Paint it Black as an advisor to Mick during the session...Mick was breaking off from Loog Oldham as i recall...some other notable sessions were Full Measure by the Spoonful, (Sebastian had walked out on the group, and i was asked to take Greg Jacobsens place in the chair-i said no...but recanted and said i'll just sit in and see things go smoothly..that's all) Hammonds: It never Rains in So. Calif. (i was originally to sing it but i gave it back to the writer Albert to sing-i produced the tracks i reacall) The Byrds Mr Tamborine Man...(terry melcher prod-Terry called me up to come over to Colombia and hear the Byrds record...it wasnt happening...He found the answer by putting Bruce & terrys reverb on the instruments like he had done with my guitar on summer means fun...thats all...
Q: I'd also be interested to hear any anecdotes Phil might have about working with Canadian vocalist Terry Black, and why Phil sang the lead vocal on a record that was supposedly by Terry Black, called "There's Something About You"...
A: Always wanted to work with a teen idol...grew up as kid loving that shit...Terry was a very respectful, trusting, scared and hard working guy...we talk at least twice a year...his career has more energy today as he is being embrace by Canada as their own pop star...why my voice is on terrys album i'll never know..it's ridiculous
Q: In your early songwriting days, you and Steve Barri were directed to write follow-ups to hit songs. Did you try to write a similar song? "Another Day, Another Heartache" sounds like "Go Where You Wanna Go". Was that planned?
A: Probably...the beauty of it is as i remember, when you start writing it takes a life of its own and so what you may have started as a take off song takes on its own..kinda thing Ö
Q: To my ears The Fantastic Baggys were the closest anyone ever got to the 1964 Beach Boy sound. The chorus of "Anywhere The Girls Are" sounds a lot like "Don't Back Down" by The Beach Boys. Was this a conscious songwriting tribute? (Both songs are favourites of mine, by the way)
A: Thank you...yes. Thanks everyone for your quest-ions...i bid you all bye- and the knowledge to the mysteries of the life and universe....namaste:::
Who Played What? P. F. Sloan talks some more
|Q: How does P. F. Sloan think of himself as a songwriter? Is song writing a craft or a job to do? And do you have favorite songs (of your own)?
A: i do not think of myself as a songwriter.....i think of myself as i am: more that just what i do, or has brought fame... Song writing is a creative explosion a spark that sets a fire: seemingly out of nowhere: then the crafting comes in...oh, the crafting! but its not a job to do...(of course it once was a job for me when i was 16-18 and i loved it... But after you write your first truly creative song and not what the publisher wanted, you begin to realize the difference..)
Q: Do the songs which you recorded as demos but did not release under your own name mean as much to you as the ones which did get released on your LPs?
A: Yes...Many demo'd songs mean as much to me as ones that have been recorded.. eg: Queen of my heart, I want my baby back, spinning wheel.
Q: How has your approach to song writing changed over the years and the phases that your career and/or life has gone through?
A: i feel less attached now...i used to hold on like a bulldog...
Q: Was Raised on Records a coherent, autobiographical record to some degree or was it a collection of the songs you were writing at the time? And is it meaningful to you to look upon the Raised on Records as a sort of a mature person's Pet Sounds (in terms of lyrical themes), as I tried to do in an early entry into the messages of this group? I hope this makes sense.
A: Was Raised on records coherent? Lemme see...hmmm....Jens it was autobiographical for sure...the songs were about what life was giving and unforgiving to me...at that time ...Turn on the light, though the form, i borrowed from Eddie Cochranís 'nervous breakdown' made it clear even to myself that i was not in the best of health back in 1971! I was suffering then from an unknown disease called hypoglycemia...The record company, mums/colombia just called me lazy and would punish me by withholding money...though i went to dozens of doctors thru the years and went thru their 'imagined cures' the hypoglycemia stayed...Until i visited India in 1986, and had an audience with a Holy man, named SaiBaba...He slapped my face, i went into a 'bliss state' for a number of days and when i returned home to the states, the illness began to fade... it took a few years for clarity of mind to return and then a couple of years of hard physical work...Doing the club dates in Spain last year was taxing but i did 6 shows in 6 nights, each show 2 hours long! And i felt i could have continued on...So, i feel very much recovered.