Announcer: … top ten hits throughout the later part of the 1960’s. After there, the family band broke up, and Susan Cowsill went out on her own and she was performing with groups like The Continental Drifters down in New Orleans and performed with them throughout the 1990’s, just about. And after there, they dissolved and she has gone out on her own and has produced her very first solo release. We’ll be hearing tracks from that as well as music from Mark Meaux who the Bluerunners have a brand new album coming out next Tuesday as well. So right new we’re going to go join Dave Spazelli back stage at Louisiana Crossroads as we prepare for this second in the 2005 Louisiana Crossroads series.
Dave: And good evening everyone. Welcome backstage at Louisiana Crossroads, originating live this evening from the historic Sliman Theater For the Performing Arts in downtown Iberia, Louisiana. And for this performance in this seasons’ second Crossroads, we will spend an evening with Susan Cowsill, Mark Meaux and Friends. I’m Dave Spazelli and my backstage guest tonight is Mr. Carl Fontano, known as our great, great KRVS engineer and also as one of the host of Dirty Rice, one of our Louisiana Music Programs here at KRVS. And Carl has all the background on the players tonight. He’s got the program, the alumni from the groups like The Continental Drifters, The Bluerunners, and all. Carl, I guess my first question is help me sort out the component parts of this edition of Louisiana Crossroads.
Carl: Well at first it started out as a show that we thought we were going to book Susan Cowsill / Vicki Peterson as the Psycho Sisters. That was the very first thought. That sort of evolved into being Susan Cowsill Band. But then it became something even different and better as we see it. Susan Cowsill doing an acoustic performance along with Mark Meaux. And there’s a lot of energy between them. Their different solo careers as well. Susan has a new disk out called Just Believe It. The Bluerunners, that’s Mark Meaux band, has a new disk out called Honey Slides. So, getting both of them together at release of two different types of music is just what Crossroads is all about.
Dave: Yeah and embodied in all our performances we’ve had that nexus of different voices and groups and individuals and bands coming together in unique ways. And we’ve kind of focused on this as a theme, as you well know Carl, to bring in people who are somewhat out of context, but fit together with the group that they are playing with on this particular performance. Tonight you’re seeing some old friends here, Roy Savoy Russ Broussard, tremendous Lafayette connection. New Orleans connection.
Carl: Absolutely. In addition to Rob Savoy and Russ Broussard, there will be Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone, Adrain Houval as well. And Chris Knotts. Like Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone will be playing harmonica and accordion. Adrain Houval will be playing some as well. Chris Knotts plays guitar and it should be just an incredible evening. This imalgreation of not only pop music, which is Susan Cowsill’s background, folk and cajuan music which is Mark Meaux background.
Dave: I guess we should mention for our listeners that the band The Cowsills, and Susan Cowsill is the individual that you remember from a time in history where they had some great, huge hits during the time of The Fifth Dimension and groups like that. The Cowsills were on the top of the chart with several.
Carl: Yeah, The Park, The Rain and Other Things aka The Flower Girl
Dave: The Flower Girl, right
Carl: The song Hair Also what you may not know is that they did the theme song for the television show Love American Style. That’s another great one too. And they did also some movie sound tracks as well in the late 1960’s. To stick with The Cowsills for a moment, they started out as a family band in the early 60’s. They all came out of Providence, Rhode Island. And it sort of first went with the four brothers, Bill, Bob, Barry and John. And they worked for months and a couple years and they would play local churches, local school dances. They were largely influence by The Beatles and they used to do Beatles tribute shows as well. And as they got more and more popular, they added more members of the band, as the family consists of 6 brothers and one sister. And they eventually got a record deal. And that’s what some of these pop songs came out of. When they needed a female voice, they recruited their mother, who was Barbara, and she sang along on a couple of song. Actually she can be heard on The Rain, The Park and Other Things. And after that, when Susan was old enough, at the ripe old age of seven, she joined the band and rode that wave of success until the band retired, and she retired at age 12.
Dave: So Susan is the youngest. We’ll be hearing her tonight and retired at the age of 12. Well that’s great and I know those of you who have been listening to KRVS and heard Lonyop with Marce Lacouture will know that The Cowsills just had a famous reunion recently up in Boston for one of the World Series games where they sang the song Hair. As she mentioned with Marcie, everybody was growing their hair long and not cutting it cuz that was said to be the strength of the Sox.
Carl: And tonight our focus is on Susan Cowsill and her career. And she went on later in the 70’s and early 80’s to sing a lot of vocals, not only lead vocals, but background vocals with many, many different artists. And some notable artists as well and we’ll tell you some of those in just a little while. One of bands she got to, in the early 90’s and she was with in the early 90’s was The Continental Drifters. And I want to play a song now from The Continental Drifters. It’s from their CD titled Better Day. This was a song written by Susan where she sings lead vocal on it and it’s called Snow.
Dave: Susan Cowsill from the CD Better Day as performed by The Continental Drifters. A tune called Snow. And I’m Dave Spazelli back stage at Louisiana Crossroads with my good friend and chief engineer at KRVS Mr. Carl Fontano and, Carl, just as Todd and the great folks at the (???) Arts Council this program together with the assistance of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, all of these musicians come together and make it happen and to do any business. Sort of sounds like the Mutual of Omaha commercial, right? And so too do you take care of your young, but anyway
Carl: We need those people.
Dave: Indeed and certainly the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the city of New Iberia, Lafayette Convention and Visitor Commission, certainly those of us here at KRVS 88.7 FM, and Louisiana Commission of the Arts, Bank One, and Vagno all combine to bring you these great performances this evening originating from this Sliman Theater in downtown New Iberia. So that was a great tune and certainly illustrated the great, great voice of Susan Cowsill.
Carl: And her songwriting talents as well. And although she’s been singing for most of her life, she’s never had a solo album before, unless you count a couple singles from the early 70’s with the Cowsills.
Dave: They were just released as singles.
Carl: Yeah and they’d be hard pressed to find right now. Maybe somebody has them out there, but we don’t know about it. So this is her first solo project, something called Just Believe It. But some of the other things she did before this song, we just played something by The Continental Drifters and that’s a band she was in for 10 years, I believe. And she had some of the major songwriting duties in there as well as some of the lead vocals. And that band was packed with some very strong songwriters and vocalist, with some great vocal harmonies. In a little bit we’re going to play one more song that was written by Susan Cowsill and Vicki Peterson while in The Continental Drifters.
Dave: Now you mentioned that her family came out of the Northeast
Carl: Providence, Rhode Island
Dave: Providence, Rhode Island and The Continental Drifters are known primarily as a band out of New Orleans, am I correct?
Carl: So as to how she got to New Orleans I’m not quite sure. We’ll find that out.
Dave: That’ll be a good question from the audience tonight. Stay tuned everybody cuz we’ll get to that.
Carl: So if you’re listening that would be a great thing to stay tuned for – that will be the question and answer period for the audience. But you know some of the things she also sang on during the 80’s when she was really coming into her own career and voice. She did things in 1976 with It Might As Well Rain Until September and Mohammad’s Radio. That was a 45 and also she sang with Dwight Twilley. Dwight Twilley was – let’s call him a cult figure. Her harmony can be heard on many of his greatest tracks, including his hit single Girls. She also guested with Redd Kross, The Smithereens, and in the early 90’s there was a Cowsills reunion. She sang on that as well. And she did guest appearances on two of the Hootie and The Blowfish’s records as well. And other things of Jules Sheer and Giant Sand.
Dave: So we’ve been hearing her all along. A much sought after studio musician, songwriter and singer, but maybe not even realizing who we were hearing.
Carl: That’s right. So tonight we’ll get full Susan. Susan on her own but with the addition of Mark Meaux, Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone and Russ Broussard. Andn if you don’t know Russ Broussard, he is her husband, and he’s the drummer percussionist. Also Chris Knotts will on guitar and Adrian Huval will be playing as well
Dave: And Rob is on bass
Carl: Rob Savoy is on bass and we’ll get a little more history of Rob and Mark and their past in just a minute
Dave: Let’s go to another tune and listen to a little music and get back with you on the addition of Backstage.
Carl: This one is called The Rain Song
Song: The Rain Song
Song: Crescent City Moon
Dave: Once again Backstage at the Louisiana Crossroads I’m Dave Spazelli along with Mr. Carl Fontano. Carl, I can just smell and feel and see that water lapping up on Lake Pontchartrain, a sea wall, and down on the Mississippi River in New Orleans. Previously we hear Susan Cowsill with The Rain Song and we transitioned there into another one of our great guests this evening Jumpin’ Johnny and a CD entitled Crescent City Moon, also the name of the tune.
Carl: Yeah and Jumpin Johnny is more known as a harmonica player and also plays a great piano accordion as well and he’s seen as a fantastic songwriter. And there was just one quote I’d that I thought was perfect for Johnny. This is something that comes from Rolling Stone Jazz and Blues Album Guide. It says “Sansone's keen songwriting--and
brought to life with his robust voice and instrumental prowess—make Crescent City Moon is one of the strongest records of the '90s.” Now that song Crescent City Moon was voted best song of the year in New Orleans in 1996. And also one of the things of his accordion work is so engaging and his harmonica playing is just downright dazzeling.
Dave: It’s beautiful.
Carl: But his ace in the hole is his songwriting. Now it’s absolute great. Having Johnny
Dave: That’s the total package deal.
Carl: Yeah adding Johnny to this bill is incredible. You know Johnny’s not going to be a feature of the evening, but he’s going to help compliment the songwriters we have onstage.
Dave: Absolutely and turns our audience onto another great artist out of Louisiana and fitting in quite nicely at Crossroads.
Song: Crescent City Moon
Dave: Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone, Crescent City Moon Another performer here this evening at the Sliman Theater in New Iberia on this edition of Louisiana Crossroads and what an incredible voice and as you mentioned, Carl, great musicianship but also some incredible songwriting also.
Carl: Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone and he’ll be a guest this evening on Louisiana Crossroads. Anxiously awaiting, not only Susan, Mark Meaux, Johnny Sansone, Rob Savoy , Adrian Huval, Russ Broussard, Chris Knotts.
Dave: And as our chief engineer at KRVS Carl can tell you we’re bringing out the BIG board tonight. This is a big show, 7 musicians onstage, a multitude of microphones requiring some of our larger capacity remote gear for this performance.
Carl: What the audience may not know is besides doing a live broadcast, and KRVS provides the house PA system. We do the monitor system as well. We do the mixing of the live broadcast. We do multi-track recording. We do two-track recording as well. All of that in one show.
Dave: Again all of that made possible, let me mention just a few of the other folks that help us with this. CA Guitars, Louisiana Music Commission, The Pyramid Group, Big Tree Music, The Independent, Iberia Bank, Cox Communication, Paul J Aland – Architect, and Bojangles. So we do thank those folks and we are excited about the show coming up this evening. This is the second Louisiana Crossroads of this season and just a super lineup and everybody getting excited as they assemble here at the Sliman Theater.
Carl: And Mark Meaux, we haven’t spoken much of Mark Meaux, but Mark and his band The Bluerunners actually began back in 1987. But it was 1991 when they really hit it big and you know his songwriting has been not only in the Cajun whelm of things but zydoco folk rock. The Bluerunners are a band that can just do it all. The are really inspired by the lead of Mark Meaux.
Dave: I’ve seen them play many times and it should be interesting tonight.
Carl: And also Rob Savoy. Rob goes way back in playing with Mark Meaux. He played in the Bluerunners. Russ Broussard, the drummer, also played in The Bluerunners. And Russ had played with Zachary Rechard, and ??? Simion and many many of the great local artists in this area. And Adrian Huval also plays in The Bluerunners now. So why don’t we hear something from The Bluerunners new disk.
Dave: Kick it up.
Song: Grave Digger
Dave: The Bluerunners ladies and gentlemen The Bluerunners from the CD Honey Slides entitled Grave Digger. And I just want to thank, many many thanks to my Backstage guest this evening Mr. Carl Fontano. Just a reminder to everyone that this is KRVS 88.7 FM Lake Charles / Lafayette / New Iberia. And now we head onstage with your host Todd Muton and the great Susan Cowsill, Mark Meaux, and Friends.
Todd: Good evening and welcome to Louisiana Crossroads. Thanks so much for joining us live here at this historic Sliman Theater in downtown New Iberia. We got a great show in store and if you’re tuned in on KRVS or listening on the web at KRVS.org you still have time to get down here. We’re easy to find, right on Main Street. And we’ve got an incredible lineup of music tonight. I wanted to let everyone know we are also doing this show tomorrow night at 7 PM at Vermilion (???) so if you like it come on out. I’m sure there will be a few different twists on tomorrow night’s performance. And also, we sort of got, thanks to a dedicated staff of volunteers, we got a sort of rolling merchandise operation out in the lobby. We got all sorts of t-shirts, CD’s, you name it. And the artists will hang around and sign CD’s and visit with you afterwards. One of the trademarks of the Louisiana Crossroads is that we like to make it sort of a personal experience for everyone. Later, we’ll do two sets 45 minutes give or take in each set. We’ll take a 15 minute break in the middle. And at the end of this set we’ll do some questions and answers with these artists. But first we’ll do a big set of music and tonight’s show we have seven musicians and I normally don’t tell the story of how this came to be but I think you’re going to be so impressed with what’s going on that you’re going to wonder how it happen. Susan Cowsill is an incredible vocalist, songwriter and performer and someone we’ve always wanted to have come join us on Louisiana Crossroads. She’s got a great new record. We got it here. She got a great band. We called her up and explained to her the format of Louisiana Crossroads. You know it’s a chance to do something you might not do at a club show or festival. You know, show a different side of your work, something out of the ordinary. First thing she said was, “How about we get Mark Meaux to do it with me.” That’s incredible because of course Mark is one of the greatest songwriters and band leaders ever to come out of this region in the state and we’ve been wanting to have him as a guest for a long time. Well turns out they had been recording together and Susan is featured on the new Bluerunners record, which comes out next week, but we have some advance copies here available. Mark also plays on Susan’s record, along with Adrian Huval who is here tonight. To add a little more to the mix, she said, “What about if I invite Johnny Sansone to come?” Well Johnny is a recording artist and band leader – multiple bands – and a great musician in his own right. He’s here tonight. We round that out with two former Bluerunners and homeboys , Rob Savoy and Russ Broussard. Chris Knotts on guitar. You got quite a band. So we’re really thrilled. So would you give a very warm Louisiana Crossroads welcome, Susan Cowsill, Mark Meaux and Friends
Susan: (muffled) Right? Did ya’ll dress for the occasion? (sigh) I did. I think I misunderstood. We’re very happy to be here this evening. And HEY to all you listeners out there in Listernersland. (boom boom) Especially for what I just gave you there. OK We’re going to start off this evening with a song from MY solo debut record. I’m a debutante at 45, but you got to love that. We can’t all do that. I’m barely getting away with it. It’s called Palm Of My Hand and that CD is available out front if anybody cares to buy coasters for next Christmas. ….. I start this. I wish you’d get that.
Song: Palm Of My Hand
Susan: Alright. Mr. Chris Knotts on vocals and guitar. Part of the Susan Cowsill entourage.. I think we’re suppose to talk about songs so I will make this brief. Wait, what? Hi!! That’s Russ Broussard on drums. Oh and he’s taking this away. Alright, in short that last song was originally started as a wedding gift song for my sister-in-law and I only got the first verse and chorus finished by the time the wedding came. But fortunately they just wanted it for the little walk in part. So it all worked out and I finished it and put it on my record. That’s the fascinating story of Palm Of My Hand. The song is about, however, the fact that we run around in circles for years looking for something that is generally right there. Yes. You can read my book about the topic. (laugh) You’re teasing. I have another good story I’ll tell you after this song. Unbelievable. He’s got it.
Song: Wawona Afternoon
Mark: Well the story to that one is that I forgot the words. So Susan sang it.
Susan: No, but the story BEHIND the story is that he wrote those words.
Mark: And I wrote them too. I wrote ‘em and forgot ‘em too.
Russ: Susan and I started on our honeymoon in Yosemite National Park and Wawona is a section in Yosemite (muffled) called what?
Susan: It’s called Wawona and we could not come up with any lyrics. We just knew it was a tragic story.
Mark: What rhymes with Wawona?
Susan: The same thing that rhymes with orange, I think. Pamona, Balona, But we couldn’t come up with any lyrics and so we ask Mark, here, who wrote the French words that I just sang for you to come up with something and he did.
Mark: The next record I’m going to rhyme
Susan: But speaking of records, Mark, what’s the next song?
Mark: It’s one that I sing with you. We rehearsed this. This is Ghost Of A Girl and it’s going to be on our record that comes out next week. Next Tues. And she was nice enough to grace us with her vocals that totally made the song as usual. Actually she ask me to write the song for her, now that I remember.
Susan: Am I singing this one too? OK cool.
Song: Ghost Of A Girl
Mark: Thank ya’ll
Susan: Yes indeed Ummm Mark? What’s that song about? Hold on, he takes a little. I’ll get it out of him. You can do it and talk.
Mark: No, really the only story is that
Susan: It’s the only one we’re looking for.
Mark: You ask me to write a song for you, like I could just do that. I was so scared, I did it. Actually my friend, Eric Charpentier helped me write that tune. He came up with the Ghost Of A Girl part actually. The hard part
Susan: So you didn’t write that about me?
Mark: No, but I knew you could sing the heck out of it.
Susan: Not like I related to it at all
Mark: Yeah nothing like that. No, no, no You don’t want to be that person.
Susan: No, no I’ve spent millions of dollars in therapy not to be that person. I’m kidding. I only spent hundreds. I’m on sliding scale. OK (laughs) Speaking of strange people. This next song – when we were kind of putting together this show – we were trading off songs with each other and I was wanting Mark and Johnny to actually do a couple of my songs the way they would hear them done. And so Russ, my husband, put together a CD for Mark. And on the CD were many of my original tunes and also one that my ex-bandmate Vicki Peterson wrote. She was in The Continental Drifters with Russ and I and she is also in the Bangles and she’s brilliant. And it was actually a song that we came up with the idea together but she went away and wrote the song. Well low and behold I ask Mark, “What of my songs did you come up with?” and he goes, “I like that weird one you know about the ‘who we are thing’” And I went, “Oh Vicki wrote that.” And then I harked back to Todd and Tom saying to me, “You know this is a varied mixed up Crossroads.” And she just, Vicki Peterson, just married my brother John – just to ‘cross the roads’ a little more and so I said, “You know what, darn it, you’re going to sing that song because I sang it with her on the record that he heard it from.” And that’s the story
Mark: And I thought for sure you co-wrote it.
Susan: And Russ thought I co-wrote it and that’s why he put it on the CD for Mark
Mark: And I’m playing the role of Vicki.
Susan: Uhhhh (Mae West imitation) Well honey where’s your ‘fa ‘at
Susan: And that’s that little story, cuz at the Crossroads you tell stories.
Song: Who We Are
Susan: All right !! Mark Meaux
Mark: Who’s that guy on harmonica
Susan: That guy is Johnny Sansone I like to call him Leapin’ Johnny That song was actually written, Vicki’s fiancé had passed away and she and I was discussing the strangness of once you’ve lost someone very close to you, which I have lost quite a few people, you kind of become – you’re kind of in our own little club. And you almost notice each other on the street. You got that look. And that’s what that song is actually about. It’s a little social club if you will. Grievers. So that’s where that came from. Now on that cheerful note, we’re going into a song that Mark wrote called ...
Mark: Speaking of dead people
Susan: Sorrows Home
Mark: Here’s another dead person.
Susan: Do you want to tell it now cuz I think you should. And if you say the song you wrote for me that you forgot.
Mark: You’re not dead
Susan: No I’m am sooo not, but I’m haunting you yeah.
Mark: No this is a song about a friend of mine who lost someone really close to them. You know I don’t normally write about that kind of thing but they had both lost their way in life you know and then as they were getting it together again, that’s when she passed away. And so it was a bad thing and I don’t know why that happens in life but I wrote a song about it. And here we go
Susan: And it’s one of my favorites on The Bluerunners record and I was panicked and I didn’t know which one to pick. Guy – yeah you .
Song: Sorrow’s Home
Mark: Thank you
Susan: Now which album is that on Mark?
Susan: Pardon? We got damaged goods. Would you like the ten minute story about this?
Mark: Well you know I love stories
Susan: Oh you do? (Susan imitating someone) Here’s a song I wrote for Susan. She ask me to write it.
Mark: This is a song I wrote. It’s one of the first songs I wrote a long time ago, a long time ago. And I realized I could sing, I could develop a character that could sing stuff that I wanted to say but wasn’t really cool if I said ‘em and so.
Susan: So you hired some guy?
Mark: Yes I employed him for free. And it just tells a story about a couple that might just be starting out in marriage and stuff, just trying to get it together.
Susan: Like me and Russ?
Mark: I’d like to think ya’ll are doing better than this. But I was a kid. Yeah you know. Guys that AREN’T doing as well as you and Russ. They don’t have a band or anything. And it’s just that little struggle that everybody goes through when they are starting out in life. Or at least I did anyway. But I thought I’d slow it down. Story is over.
Susan: He’s just a regular guy
Mark: I don’t think I have anymore stories after that
Susan: Oh no you do and we’re going to talk more in the other set with you.
Song: We Ain’t No Damaged Goods
Mark: I’m done
Susan: Mr. Mark Meaux
Mark: We sounded like Peaches & Herb there
Susan: Yeah you’re right All right, “Come here loverboy” No, wait. I believe this is the portion of our program. I want to be on the radio. I think I could do that, don’t you? (low voice) Welcome to Crossroads (back to normal) Hey I didn’t call you yet. But it’s radio and they didn’t know Todd was standing right
Todd: You don’t realize the power of that microphone.
Susan: That’s right it is. Ladies and Gentlemen I’d like to bring to the stage right now Todd Muton
Todd: What a great show. How do you guys like it so far? I’m going to get over here. Adrian Huval right here, what a guy. Rob Savoy on the bass. Russ Broussard on the drums. Johnny Sansone back there Chris Knotts on the far end Susan Cowsill and Mark Meaux right here. I’d like to especially thank the city of New Iberia for making this home for us to do this great program.
Susan: Yeah New Iberia
Todd: And the gumbo was very good. I thought that last song was a Zydeo song. And I thought maybe I could ask you since you’re near a microphone Rob, how did you meet Mark Meaux? Or how did he meet you?
Rob: We were both, of course, raised in Lafayette and I think the real kinship happen when he trained me to be a dry cleaning delivery guy at a local cleaners and our friendship kind of grew out of that. He had the job and didn’t want it anymore, so he gave it to me. I didn’t want it after awhile and gave it to somebody else. But also Steve (???) also delivered dry cleaning. So you’d think if we had any sense, we’d have a string of dry cleaners right now, but you know. Had a string of hits man, buy a record, and that sort of fostered our kinship. We talked a lot about music. You and wait a minute, you, and that’s how we …
Todd: And you’ve also know that song for a long time that the image gets on
Rob: Yeah it was not like that at all. The way I knew it.
Todd: I’m serious I don’t want do the old, you know, give me a taste but how’d that thing go?
Susan: That’s the Eric Burton version
Todd: Right, right. It’s great. At this age …
Susan: Come on you want to hear it don’t ya?
Rob: I don’t even remember
Todd: Just a little, you know, you know
Rob: Alright, alright, alright
Susan: We got to give the audience what they want Meaux
Song: ????? short – Susan singing “Baby why you look so sad and I’m the best lover girl that you’ll ever have.”
????: That’s more than a mouth full there
Todd: It’s just really incredible. We were talking earlier at the …. This just feels like home, the whole tribe aligning here because of course, I mean, everybody on stage has played both cities quite a bit and with each others bands.
Susan: I have never been to New Iberia. I’m sorry Todd. I’ve been to Lafayette.
Todd: You could lie to the people.
Susan: Oh you know it’s good to be home.
Todd: Work with me.
Susan: I’m working with ya. Todd, how did you come to meet the guys? Are we not suppose to do it like that?
Todd: Yeah, yeah That’s the kind of thing. Everybody can ask a question.
Susan: And we want you all to ask questions if you have any and I’ll be looking out there like Carol Burnett lookin for people to raise their hand. But I want to hear this from Todd.
Todd: You know
Susan: You’re cousins with everybody right?
????: Well tell her are we? Are we not?
Todd: Uh the thing was at first these guys were kind of rockabilly. And it’s just been an amazing thing cuz you me, you know that.
Susan: Yeah Oh Back in the day
Todd: Well I don’t know. Mark you tell ‘em
Mark: At first we were kindof Rockabilly
Susan: Then you went underboard and became zydobilly. I want to know one thing. When did Johnny Sansone join The Bluerunners? What year was that?
Mark: That’s tonight
Susan: Johnny want to step up and answer that question? Here comes Johnny Sansone to answer his historical question about his life and times with The Bluerunners.
Johnny: I thought that was a cannned product. I don’t know.
????: He’s the biggest one in the band.
Johnny: I used to fix the delivery truck. I don’t know anything about it.
Susan: Very good
Todd: Actually Johnny while you’re up there I could ask you a little bit about how you got tangled up with Susan and the rest of this group.
Johnny: Well the first time – tangled up huh? – yeah I’m tangled. The first time I guess was when we did something with The Continental Drifters. I was invited to play with The Continental Drifters. It was at their, was it a Wednesday night?
Susan: Tuesday, you drank
Johnny: Well it was much like this kind of thing where brought in guests and we would learn some of their songs and you’d get to play on some of their songs. And I went to the rehearsal and I kind of knew everybody a little bit just from – you know – bars. Yeah I got invited to that, we sat in with each other. It was a great thing and I got invited to play on Susan’s record. I think the record is fantastic, so I’m here.
Susan: So good. That’s the most succinct answer we’ve had yet.
Todd: And the rumor is that Johnny you’re going to play accordion in the second set. Aren’t you ? You might even – later on.
Johnny: Yeah I’m going to be a Purplerunner on that one. Be careful
Todd: And we do always like to take one or two audience questions. We actually don’t have the roving mic tonight so if anybody would like to ask a question of any of these great musicians, there are seven of them. We’re thrilled to have all of them. Show yourself in the back row. Hollar it out.
Susan: Oh oh I’m scared.
Todd: No follow ups and no two parters
Susan: That’s OK cuz I think that will be the only question. But you go ahead hun. ….. OK I’m originally from Newport, Rhode Island where we ‘park ‘aaars and t’lk t’lk’ Which ain’t far from yattin’ if you know what I mean Um and how I came to know The Bluerunners is similar to how Johnny came to know them. I used to be in a band called The Continental Drifters. Russ Broussard was in the band called The Continental Drifters and we used to play in a place – what was that place called – Grant Street in Lafayette. Yeah let’s hear it for Grant Street. Alright and the Drifters used to play. We used to do co-bills with The Bluerunners. The saddest boys in show business. (Susan doing a voice) They all be lookin’ so sad. It’s true. They walkin’, I say ‘Why you so sad?’ So that’s when Mark and me we bonded, you see cuz I used to cheer him up. Umm but that’s how I got to know ‘em. I moved to New Orleans about 12 years ago and I’m not leaving. And that’s that story
Todd: And we’ll do one more. Anybody else? Raise your hand.
Susan: I told you that’s the only one.
Todd: Well I had actually had --- yes
Todd: Mr. Chris Knotts
Susan: Chris Knotts Can I ask him? Chris How’d you come to meet The Bluerunners?
Chris: Well Susan I moved here six years ago – well when I say here
Susan: Where you from?
Chris: Washington, D.C.
Chris: I came to New Orleans six years ago and I started playing. John Malone who used to be in the Bluerunners had a band with him called Flatware and then I started playing with Russ Broussard in a band called The Plowboys. And then I met – well I knew you anyway –
Susan: Very uneventful
Chris: Anyway I just kept playing with Russ and then I started playing with you and then
Susan: Then I offered you big time show business dollars to be in my band and you ain’t turned back since.
Chris: That’s right
Susan: Yeah that’s right
Chris: Things are just lookin’ great.
Susan: He’s also a very fine songwriter in his own right. So be lookin’ for him. Yeah Todd
Todd: We’ll end with just one last one. Was you were talking with Marce yesterday on KRVS and you mention how this record came out with really more pop influence than you originally had thought it might.
Susan: That’s right
Todd: But my question was actually the influence of New Orleans. You’ve been there a long time. Do you think that’s part of your music?
Susan: I do. I think it has everything to do with the beer. I’m just kidding. I felt like that was important to say. Um I think wherever you are, if you’re a musician or artist or whatever we are, whatever environment you are in basically, whether you know it or not, you’re soaking it in. And when you go to create something it can come out in a myriad of ways and after living in New Orleans for about 12 years I just, you just start feeling the (Mae West imitation) ‘heat of the summer.’ You know, and it just kind of, I don’t really can’t explain it. It’s kind of like channeling. I don’t even understand it. And I’m not Shirley McClaine but I do think she’s very interesting.
Todd: We were thrilled because you guys of course recorded the record at Dockside.
Susan: We did at Dockside in beautiful Milton/Maurice Louisiana depending on which side of the bridge you’re standing on at any given moment and I believe my pop influence comes a lot for Steve Nails because …
Todd: Pop is Steve Nails
Susan: Pop yeah he’s a big pop guy. He doesn’t like anything if it doesn’t have gangly guitars and harmonies.
Todd: His first concert ever, as a kid was a Cowsill concert
Susan: Right a Cowsill concert
???? : Unbelieveable Tell ‘em who Steve Nails is
Susan: Steve Nails is the proprioter of Dockside Studios out in Milton slash Maurice Louisiana where everybody should be recording their records.
Todd: And how did he meet The Bluerunners?
Susan: This is like that Kevin Bacon game only ….. We do have only a certain amount of time on this radio show, is that right?
Todd: And I’m taking it up. You’re the artist
Susan: There you go.
Todd: So how about a little more music. Take it away. Susan Cowsill and …..
Susan: This – seein’ that it’s all about talkin’ This song, it’s not unlike the Damaged Good song. I think it’s just the other side of it. One of the lines in Mark’s song about the damaged good people is that they are full of lies and dirty mouths. And these are about the guys with lies and dirty mouths.
Susan: That’s it. Sorry about that ya’ll. We’ll be right back. Mark Meauz, me, Johnny, Chris, Rob, Ad and Russ. Thanks
Todd: How about it everyone. Susan Cowsill, Mark Meaux and Friends. And that’s just the first set. We’re going to take a 15 minute break and we’ll let everybody in radio land that they can come on down. We’re at the historic Silman Theater on Main Street in New Iberia. We’ll do another set of music and we’ll do this show again tomorrow night at 7 o’clock with a few different twists. In fact I think we might get to hear a song sang a couple of different ways in the second set as well. We have plenty of merchandise from these artist out in the lobby, even a few sales going on I believe. Please familiarize yourself with that. Have some refreshments. I want to thank everybody who’s made tonight possible.
Announcer: Susan Cowsill, Mark Meaux and Friends
Announcer: We’re going to send this one out to all the people who wish they were here and having as much fun as you guys are.
Susan: I got to use this. I wasn’t thinkin’
Announcer: I want to thank everyone too. I know we have some guest in the audience who flew in from California to be here.
Announcer: We got some guests from Texas here tonight and we got folks tuned in up in Canada, so we want to tell them hello. And uh….
Susan: Can we see the people who flew in? Can we see their hands? ... Are you all tired?
Mark: Their arms must be tired.
Susan: OK Mark, I beat you to it.
Announcer: But once again we just so excited to have all these artist together and, uh, they have all kinds of cool stuff planned for this set. A lot of instruments and a lot of songs and, ummm, we really appreciate them coming down and of course we’re doing this again tomorrow night so spread the word so they can come out and check it out. Just a super treat here so give it up. It’s Chris Knotts, Johnny Sansone, Russ Broussard, Rob Savoy, Andrew Newbaum, Mark Meaux, and Susan Cowsill.
Susan: Thank you very much. This song is the title cut off my solo, debut record, called Just Believe It, and I do!
Song: Just Believe It
Susan: I don’t really think we need to discuss that song. Do ya’ll? Do ya wanna? OK well one
Mark: I had to discuss all of mine.
Susan: Well !! Tit for tat Mo ... Well, umm, it’s like this. You know you go through your life and you’re looking at it one way and then you realize it’s almost over so you start looking at it another way (Mae West imitation). It really just gets down to that. And it’s not that my days are numbered, but I figured I’d maximize what’s actually left. It’s just that simple. Yes indeed. …. Thanks Mark. I guess .. OK this isn’t working anymore, this little thing I had going on here. All right. I would like to introduce my other fabulous guests of guests Johnny Sansone to the front of the stage. Now, as you might recall the last song that we did at the last set was a little off color perhaps (Mae West imitation). But then again sometimes life can be that way and Johnny, here, kindof fell in love with that song. And he’s got a whole different kind of take on it and I’m going to join him on it right now.
... I’m going to use a million pieces of that. Thank you Todd.
Johnny: I want to marry this song. Can you turn up the monitor a little bit?
Song: Talkin’ (done very blues)
Susan: Johnny Sansone
Johnny: Here’s another one from ….
Susan: Rob Savoy just had the most brilliant idea. He suggest that I tell you where you could buy our record on our website if you’re just not feeling like it when you walk out that door today. I can’t imagine (giggles), but it could happen. So you go to susancowsill.com and you, by magic cuz I have no idea how it actually happens, magically buy it over the internet. And I bet each one of these guys have the same thing, only at a different address. Is that right gentlemen? (Susan talking to herself -?) “Why yes it is Susan. Thanks for bringing that up.”
Rob: In fact you can get to their site from our site.
Susan: That’s right you can so just call me and I’ll give you all the information.
Rob: Bring the credit card to the keypad. Be prepared.
Susan: This is a song that I actually wrote 500 years ago, and I did it with the band that we used to be in called The Continental Drifters. And quite a few, OK I’m lying, two people covered this song. One being a band called Hootie and The Blowfish. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
???: They’re here tonight
Susan: Yaw, well And another band called The Bangles. Gotta love them. And I’m actually thinking of covering this myself on my next record. But Johnny here, has come up with a very different version of this song. And he (Mae West imitation) gonna do it for you right now. ….. We only practiced this once, so ……
Johnny: Annnnnnnndddd begin
Song: The Rain Song
Susan; Johnny Sansone with the most original version of The Rain Song ever. Ever, ever, ever. So, now …… Now we’d like to take a few minutes to discuss ---- milk.
Johnny: Our sponsors
Susan: Oh when I was a child I used to do milk commercials and I still drink it today. Of course it comes in a green bottle now. But that’s just, uh, oh oh . Hold on ya’ll. Big trouble here. OK That was just a manufactures decision based on the environment because if it looks green when they put it in the filling place it, uh, matches the trees. OK Alright, ya’ll. I’m telling you it’s going to my head. What? That’s right. That’s what I’m doing. This is a song and it’s called The Bridge and I’m going to try to get Johnny Sansone to tell us what it’s about. Now, I’ve been knowing him for years, and he still hasn’t told me, but maybe with the pressure of being on the radio and ya’ll staring at him, we might get somewhere. Johnny! Hey, my friends and me are thinking about this song called The Bridge. Would you like to tell us a little about it?
Johnny: I’m scared.
Susan: Come on, don’t be.
Johnny: I live on the bayou St. John Bayou in New Orleans, right by the race track. And we got a little bridge there that everyone walks across to go to the Jazz Fest and it’s closed off to traffic. You can only walk across it. For some reason every Sunday morning all these people have to sit out there and play drums, and uh, it’s very irritating, but anyway. This used to be a voodoo area where
Susan: I’m sorry voodoo?
Johnny: Yeah, did I say that correctly?
Susan: Is that why you weren’t ready to talk to me about it? (giggles) Come on. Go on. Go ahead.
Johnny: So anyway, uh, I cross the bridge every day so. Also people, they have plays out on it sometimes and a lot of people just go out there and drink and throw their bottles in the bayou and I don’t like that too much so you know, I thought I’d write a song about it somehow. Figure out something to say about it.
Susan: So you made up this story?
Johnny: I made up this story ... So my mother listened to the story she says, “That doesn’t make any sense” and I said “Yeah, that’s when I know I got a good song.”
Susan: So there’s nobody that you met on the bridge and they never changed a life like it says here?
Johnny: The idea about this is that you’re not suppose to know who I’m talking about. It could mean anybody. It could mean anything to anybody.
Susan: OK I like this universal...
Johnny: You’re suppose to take away from this whatever you like. If I told you what it meant to me, then it wouldn’t be the same to you. You have to make up your own mind what it’s about and who it’s about.
Susan: (whispering) That’s good.
Susan: That was really good. All I got was a (must be making a gesture), and that doesn’t do good on radio. It’s beautiful. It means whatever it means for you.
Johnny: While I have the opportunity, I want to say God Bless Clifty Shinear.
Song: The Bridge
Johnny: What the hell was that about?
Johnny: Somebody had a bridge and then IIIIIII
Susan: OK You all good? This is where Garrison Kato would tell a fabulous story about (muffled). But
????: That last one is on Johnny’s Watermelon Patch, right?
Susan: OK This is good. (sort of doing announcer voice ?)This one is from Johnny (muffled) we got the CD’s and t-shirt and all the other merchandise from all the people on the stage out front. Take one home as a reminder of this fabulous day. We have Mark Meaux (muffled), Johnny Sansone Watermellon Patch and Susan Cowsill’s Just Believe It
Susan: I’m looking for a job. I need some money, what’s you got?
Johnny: This song is about trying to break the chain on the streets of New Orleans. (can’t understand) You can all sing along if you feel like it. You’ll figure it out. It goes like this.
Song: Give Me A Dollar
Susan: Oh my god, well (muffled)
Johnny: I can tell the rest of that story real quick if you want
Susan: I would love you to.
Johnny: You know the old Absence Bar (???) that ya’ll used to go to.
Susan: I don’t really frequent bars. (laughs) Really!
Johnny: This was one of the – uh – this was before you were born, Susan.
Susan: I love these stories.
Johnny: That was like THE music club on Bourbon Street and we used to play there in the afternoons and it was pretty exciting you know. Drunk people would come by and spit on you and stuff. Sometimes they’d buy you a drink, but they’d usually spill it on themselves before you got it. It was a beautiful way of life, to learn how to play, and try to work out your little show. We were dying to get out of there so we had to write some songs. They used to have these little kids who would tap dance outside for change. And I would see that and they would spin bicycle wheels on they head to our music and I’d see that we’d be playing for 3-4 hours straight and I came out and I looked and this like 6 year old kid had made more money than we did for the whole band. Then I said, “Somebody’s got to do something about this and that’s when I wrote this song.
Susan: It’s a little known story but that is how The Cowsills actually got started. I know I know. We say we’re from Rhode Island but first Dad, he was in the Navy, he was stationed off Old Algeries and we was all in the quarter, like that (Mae West imitation) and one thing lead to another.
Susan: That brings me to my next song which uh It’s very personal song to myself and my husband Russ. It’s on radio. No time for that. OK the deal is this. It’s a song about this life that we live and how it kinda of goes past us, sometimes perhaps too fast. And maybe we don’t stop to appreciate it. Now I wasn’t sitting around thinking about that one day, cuz that would have been a little too deep for me. But it did come to mind when we went to visit Russ’s grandmother who was in a home in Texas. Nursing home. And we were kind of on schedule that weekend for going to sit with Nanny. And Nanny kind of had one foot in and one foot out, if you know what I mean. We spend two days with her and the first day, she had one foot in. And we spent the whole day with her and she was very upset and she was very anxious about the potential journey she was about to take. And Russ and I sat with her and at different times and I’d say we spent probably about 17 hours with her all totaled just holding her hand and comforting her. And the whole entire first day Nanny was moaning the same thing over and over for hours and hours and hours. And what she was moaning was the following. And she sounded exactly like this. “Ooooohhh Oohhhhhh oooOOOOOhhhhh I don’t want to leave this earth. Ohhhhhhh I don’t want to let it go.” OK and every time she’d say that we’d say, “It’s OK Nanny. It’s OK. You know you’re 500 years old and you’ve done your duty and everybody’s good. Your kids are fine. You can go.” But this is what … she was just didn’t want to go. So that was the first day. We came back the next day and we thought surely this could be it and we went to Nanny’s room and her bed was made. So we went, “Oh OK. Alright this is good.” So we went to the front desk and said, “Yes is Miss Prejean - where’s Miss Prejean?” And they went, “She’s over there.” She sitting in her wheelchair. Decked out to the nine. One foot in. And we were quite astonished and I was like, “Hello” and she was like, “Hey” “Remember me?” “Yeah” I’m like alright, cool. So I sat and I spoke with her for the brief time that I had and I ask her a few questions about her life and she gave me little teeny tiny tidbits of her life which was really long and illustrious. Then the next day we came back and she was one foot in or out again and a few weeks after that, she passed on. We left the home that night and this sound in my head was going over and over again and it turned into the chorus of this song actually. And the second verse in it is very important to me as well because it has to do with a dear friend of mine Steve Nance who we talked about earlier who, he and his wife own Dockside Studios. He’s, let’s just say, been through the mills slightly. And one of the last things that came up for Steve was – dang it – he got a little bought of leukemia. And he’s been through a lot and he’s really an amazing man. And we sat and talked for awhile about his life and what he wanted out of it. And I’m very happy to say he’s doing excellent. He’s healthier than he probably ever has been. And it’s just this big life song and I’ve taken way too much time and you can tell I really care about this song. So now I’m going to sing it for you. When you do a rock show, no one really wants to hear this s*** you know.
Song: Nanny’s Song
Announcer: KRVS 88.7 FM Lafayette/Lake Charles