CHUCK NEGRON B Y R A N DY PAT T E R S O N , B O O M E R O C I T Y. C O M
F YOU’RE INTO rock music at all,
you’ve had to have heard Three Dog Night. If you’re a baby boomer, you for sure have. Songs like Joy to the World, Easy to Be Hard, Never Been to Spain, One, and many other songs by the band dominated the airwaves of the ‘70s and reportedly enjoyed 40 million in LP sales. Though a trio, the voice of Three Dog Night is often attributed to Chuck Negron. By the time the band disbanded in 1976, Negron had a very serious drug problem. In 1999, he chronicled his story in his autobiography, Three Dog Nightmare, which is being released this month in a revised version. It was about that book that Chuck and I talked by phone. I started off by mentioning to him that, from reading his book, it truly is a miracle that he is still alive. I asked him about that. “Yeah, well, I guess there’s a bigger plan for me. Ha! Ha! The book has become part of a program of many rehabs across America, and I’ve ended up speaking. Several months ago I spoke in Kansas for many judges, probation officers, and incarcerated men about addictions. It seems that I’m helping a lot of people understand addiction. It seems to be a
greater purpose for me.” Negron has been clean for quite a few years now, but I just had to ask if there’s any temptation still to go back to using. “That’s been a blessing to me,” he said. “I’m 26 years clean and sober, and I have not had the obsession to use – EVER – with my recovery. It’s been removed, and the miracle of that is that was my burden. I couldn’t get sober because the obsession was with me every minute. I couldn’t shake it. So it was a real blessing when it was removed.” At 75, Negron’s voice is still remarkably similar to its heyday quality. I asked him what he attributes that to. “It’s kind of you to say so,” he said. “I think a lot has to do with genetics and has much to do with preparation and work. I think for a singer, you have to sing. You have to work on your voice – especially as you get older. You have to train. You have to have strong muscles. The breathing. The stomach in good shape. It’s a muscle that breathes. There’s a lot to do. I take voice. I never took voice in my whole life, and I’ve taken it the last 15 years. I started taking voice to learn as much as I can to keep myself viable and learn, and I still am. Plus, I love to sing. It’s my – excuse the
saying – but it’s my voice. It’s how I express myself – the very free part of me. I love it! I love to sing!” I had to ask if Three Dog Night was going to reunite. “Nah, it’s not going to happen,” said Negron. “There was a time when Cory and Jimmy were alive that it could work – especially if we get Floyd Sneed back involved, because Floyd still plays and is a good drummer and a great guy. There was a time that was something I would’ve enjoyed. But once Cory and Jimmy died, there was no reason to do anything. It was me, Danny, Michael, and maybe Floyd. Besides all the genius that was the band and musicians, what made the name Three Dog Night special in my mind was three-part harmony. How can you do threepart harmony with two guys? So, it’s over. There’s no reason. That was my reason – to hear that beautiful sound; that powerful, guttural sound. It can’t be done. It would just be an interference in my life at this point that I don’t need.” When asked how he wanted to be remembered and what he hoped his legacy is, he jokingly said, “Well, it’s probably too late to be remembered as a nice guy. Ha! Ha!” He then said that he wanted to be remembered as “someone who helped a lot of people. Turned his tragedy into someone’s victory.” The new addition of Three Dog Nightmare is available via various online outlets. You can also sign up for Negron’s blog at www. ChuckNegron.com. There is also a muchexpanded version of our chat on www. boomerocity.com, where he discusses his latest LP that he recorded with his daughters, as well as several other topics of interest. Randy’s first interview was at the tender age of 13 with none other than Col. Tom Parker. Thirty-six years later he founded the webzine, Boomerocity.com, and has conducted close to 200 interviews with some of the most interesting people in music.
EVERYTHING KNOXVILLE December 2017