April 25 to May 1, 2019
AMERICA continued from page 25
career in contemporary Christian music and was nominated for a Grammy.” FELCI: America returned the charts in a big way in 1982 with the album “View from the Ground,” which featured the hit “You Can Do Magic” by Russ Ballard, who also produced the track. Did you view it as a “comeback” and did it in some way validate your decision to carry on as a duo? BUNNELL: “As with most bands with long careers we had our peaks and valleys, and new genres of music were appearing as we moved into the ’80s. Our style as singersongwriters remained the same but we were not getting the traction we had in the ’70s with our newer songs. Changes needed to be made and the first thing we did was to change management. Jim Morey took over that role and had some great ideas, beginning with more international touring to take us out of the U.S. for a while. He also recommended we work with a great British writer named Russ Ballard, who wrote “You Can Do Magic” specifically for us and our vocal arrangement styles. It worked well and we had our first top 10 record in several years, and our visibility returned for the ’80s… I suppose that qualifies as a comeback!
FELCI: Jumping ahead to the new millennium, tell us about how your association with indie rockers Fountains of Wayne resulted in the album “Here & Now” (2007). What were your favorite collaborations from those sessions? BUNNELL: “That was another special project. Gerry had been in contact with Adam Schlesinger from Fountains and their discussions led to meetings and a plan to have Adam and his production partner, James Iha of Smashing Pumpkins, produce
an album for us. It turned into a great learning experience for me after years of working in my own comfort zone. Singing a song like “Golden” written by Jim James of My Morning Jacket was a highlight. And we befriended Mark Rozzo of a band called Maplewood who wrote “Indian Summer” which turned out great, in addition to Adam’s own song, “Work To Do.” So it was a new collaborative experience for sure.” FELCI: You and Gerry are now touring in celebration of America’s 50th anniversary.
What is the group’s legacy and what can fans expect from your performance at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino on May 11th? BUNNELL: “Well, we started in 1970, so 2020 will mark 50 years doing what we do — hard to believe! At the same time that the music business began changing and recording lessened for us, our live show seems to have gotten stronger with the addition of two newer members in Ryland Steen on drums and Steve Fekete on lead guitar, keyboards and banjo, in addition to our longtime great bass player and high harmony singer Rich Campbell. We have incorporated video to enhance select songs, and Gerry and I have honed the set list down to a varied cross-section of the 50year catalog of songs, which include all the hits of course and some more album cuts. It seems to keep our audiences coming and we’re happy with the show!” Who: America 50th Anniversary Tour Where: Fantasy Springs Resort Casino’s Special Events Center, 84245 Indio Springs Drive, Indio, CA When: Saturday, May 11 at 8 PM Tickets: ($59, $49, $29, on sale at the Fantasy Springs Box Office, via phone (800) 827-2946 or online at www. FantasySpringsResort.com
I’ve never really had much appreciation for putting music like ours in boxes or genres. If we have to call it one thing, then we’ll call it Rock N Roll. You will hear a diversity of influences interlaced throughout this record and our sound, but it always resonates around that Roots Rock/Americana core. I hope that anyone listening can find a way to relate to it in some way or another, whether it is lyrically or musically. Everyone hears a song in a different way and I think that’s the magic of music.” CVW: Anything else you’d like to share with your fans and our music-savvy readers? Dorris: “Thank you to the people that
work hard to support local music. Some people might not see the importance of a community surrounding local arts, but there’s nothing like having a strong foundation to build from. We have a tribe of incredibly talented people who have helped us put this record out and have helped us in so many other ways. We all have amazing families and people in our lives who support what we are doing and we could not do it without them. We’ll be releasing a music video very soon and so much more throughout the year. We hope to see you at our release show. This is only the beginning for RBTS!” rebornbythesunshine.com
REBORN BY THE SUNSHINE continued from page 10
in that line I’m waiting in or voice out a guitar riff in that restroom and I’ll get whatever I can out of it. Sometimes I take entire songs to rehearsal or just a few seeds to see what we can make of them. Other times someone else might have an idea that we work on. If there is something to an idea, you can usually feel it. We then follow it wherever it takes us.” CVW: You’ve also shared that having heart in everything you do musically is of utmost importance to you. Did you always have that feeling or has it developed over time? Dorris: “I want to say I’ve always had that feeling, but even if I have, I’m sure the meaning of that ‘feeling’ has changed over time just as I have. I’ve been through some tough times with loss in my life and have also experienced a lot of love. I’ve only
been in this life a short time and already my experiences have made me a different person along the way. Where I am now, I not only want to have heart in what I do, but I need to as a release. It’s who I am and my band family feels the same way.” CVW: We’ve joked about the “grey area” and how unfair it can sometimes be to classify and thereby inhibit artists who don’t necessarily fit into preconceived categories. With regard to the RBTS sound, what do you want listeners to derive from your music? Dorris: “This is one of those topics that I’m sure has been around a long time in the realm of music. I don’t think it’s really unfair as much as it can be a deterrent for someone who may be interested in listening to your music when another person decides to categorize you as one genre or another.
Coachella Valley Weekly - April 25 to May 1, 2019 Vol. 8 No. 6