Rod Piazza PART II
Wed Jul 23 10:34:40 EDT 1997
LW: The Flyers have got to be one of the hardest working
RP: Yeah, we get all over hell. They got us traveling everywhere.
It look like this year going to be rougher yet, with he
release of the record they want you to run up and down the
highway everywhere it is. So everybody can see you that ain't
seen you already, can get a chance to see you and buy the
record. I hope they do.
LW: It seems like you're always touring.
RP: yeah, but it ain't true, because we fly a lot of places. Then
I only really try and drive the states in the summer because
you don't want to get in that bad weather. This year I know
I'm going back out in October and November. I got to go over
to Europe in August.
LW: I always hear that the overseas crowd has a better
appreciation of the blues. Do you think that's true.
RP: Well, yeah that's true. Now it used to be that way a lot !.
Let's say in the fifties, sixties and seventies. Now there
as a lot them mixing it up. In other words if play a big
festival, not everybody there is a blues fan. There is a lot
people that don't really know blues, but they know you're
from The United States. Their more into other kinds of music
too, but they still go for it in a big way. You got a heavy
core of real blues lovers that they know all your records
and they got them all.
LW: The song "California Fire Blues" is that a true
RP: No man. I wrote that about these people live up there by
Malibu. You know where they have them fires. I never did
have no fire around my house, but I'm writing that just
for them that live over there. You know this guy told me
"Shit man write one about that fire they having now". I
said 'well I ain't living over there" They said "
That's all right Lightnin Hopkins made one about an earthquake,
He don't live out there where they have earthquakes".
LW: I know you recorded with Michelle Shocked. Who else have
recorded with that might surprise people.
RP: I did record with this guy, Gary Wright, he made "Dream
Weaver" and I recorded with Tommy Conwell you know his
group, The Young Rumblers. I recorded with Della Reese.
LW: Did you ever record with Big Mama Thornton.
RP: No, but I was on the road with her when I was eighteen.
LW: What was your first big gig.
RP: Oh I should say my first big gig was in the
Cheetah Club in Hollywood, Santa Monica area. It was
with Albert King and Quicksilver Messenger Service. I was
the opening act and we got a review in the paper. In the
LA Times it said Quicksilver Messenger Service wouldn't
hitting on nothing that night and Albert King who's sidemen
almost feel asleep on him. They said the group that opened,
The Dirty Blues Band was something else, played with a lot
of emotion and fire. They gave us a good review, we thought
man we were sounding good. We were surprised that we even got
mentioned in the article, because Albert King, you know you
can't beat Albert King. We wound up doing a lot of gigs with
LW: Tell me about Hollywood Fats
RP: I gave him his first job. He joined the Bacon Fat group when
this boy got killed. He got around some bad people and some
cats had hung him So Fats fell in the group behind that. That
was in the seventies, he was calling himself Robert Jr. Jr.
Shakey Jake give him the name, Hollywood Fats, he lived up in
Hollywood and weighed about three hundred pounds. I was the
first group he was ever in. The real fact of the business is,
I got an album, I just sent the tape to Tone-Cool that's live
with my band, me, Hollywood Fats, Larry Taylor on bass,
Richard Ennis on drums and another cat, named George on
guitar. He killed himself, wound up shooting himself in the
head over some broad. Live recorded by Pete Welding in 1975
I got the tape fixing to release it here pretty quick. It's
out of sight. It's Little Walter, Muddy Waters, you know
LW: One tune on Tough and Tender, Blues and Trouble. That's a
strange harp sound. The beginning of it, I thought my
player was messing up.
RP: (Laughter) That's a low D harmonica. You know a low tuned D.
LW: You modify all your equipment. You not only sell mics but now
you have a Rod amp.
RP: yeah, in fact I was over there talking to the guy today.
Getting me a second one made and pretty soon they are going
to start making them.
LW: Did you get into modifying the mics yourself or do they do
it for you.
RP: Yes, it's just a slight modification. It's the best that I
could do with what I got to work with, but once we get this
amp up and on it's feet. He's already working on this new
crystal. So that we can convert all these mics I've sold to
this new crystal. Which is going to be a big old fat sounding
thing. It's more than what I had to work with before. You
can't no more out of these mics than I'm getting, but when we
get this new crystal it's going to have a heavy sound.
LW: I appreciate you talking with me, I really enjoyed it.
RP: All right partner. Thanks for calling
I look forward to seeing you next time we're up there.
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