You've taken us up into the '70s now, when there started to be a nostalgia craze for the music of the '50s, with Happy Days on TV etc. When I was in junior high school in the '70s we had "'50s Day" once a year.
I had left Jay and the Americans and I recorded a song [in 1975] with Joel Dorn for Atlantic Records called "Looking for an Echo" (which, though it took 20 years, became a cult classic in that particular genre of radio), but because of that record I was called out to California to work on the movie about Alan Freed, American Hot Wax.
Which was slightly fictionalized.
Slightly, but in looking back I feel proud of it because we really did capture the feeling that was going on at that time, and I know for a fact that there are many people who look at that and - forget about the [movie's] inaccuracies - it really did capture the spirit of that time. If you want to know what it was like at the Brooklyn Paramount Theater in 1958, check out American Hot Wax. And for that movie I formed the group The Planotones.
THE PRESENT DAY
Which you revived and have kept going for some years.
It's hard to believe but it's fifteen years! I started it when I was already getting old, it was in 1992, and we're going stronger than ever.
And you've got a new CD out, which really sticks to the doo-wop feel but you've also got a couple of surprising song choices, and it's really a good sounding album that doesn't sound like an oldies collection. It's all new recordings - "neo-doo-wop!"
Thank you for saying that. Unfortunately this genre is overlooked, passed over.
You also take the band on the road.
I don't know why but there's a tremendous need for this. The people who love this music come out in droves - we play to packed houses all over the United States. It's mindblowing. I think that when we do these songs we kind of transport the people back to that time, and in doing so they wind up transporting us back to that time [too].