Monday, May 18, 2009

Sharing A Laugh With Alan O'Day

We featured one of Alan O'Day's new tracks, "Your Song Sucks", during our week-long feature "New Music From Some Of Your Old Favorites" a couple of weeks back ... and then just this past week Alan was kind enough to share with our Forgotten Hits Readers his original "studio apartment demo" of "Easy Evil", a song that I fell in love with back in the early '70's when I heard former Steppenwolf Lead Singer John Kay's version on WBBM-FM, Chicago's then-leading soft-rock station.

All this recent attention to Alan's music prompted a couple of you folks out there to share a thought or two with us.

How cool that Alan O'Day allowed you to use his demo for "Easy Evil" on your website. It's a great song ... and that version sounds good enough to release EXACTLY "as is" ... I wonder why he never released it.

I've always loved that song ... and I'll betcha I've played Alan's demo version at least a dozen times this week already. And you're absolutely right ... his little "studio apartment mix" sounds like a hit single to MY ears, too!!! (lol) I wondered if he ever recorded his OWN version of this track for commercial release ... or if it never made it past the "demo" stage ... and, if not, which was HIS favorite version of this tune ... so I asked him. I got this from Alan when I sent him a copy of your note (kk):

Dear Kent, Cc Kelly,
Thanks so much for the compliment and the question! Glad you enjoyed Easy Evil.
No, I was still writing songs for other artists back then, although in hindsight, I wish it had been included on my first album, "Caress Me Pretty Music", circa 1973, produced by Dallas Smith. But since I was not thought of as a big success at that time, there was concern about investing any more money on that album.

My favorite version, for selfish reasons, is John Kay's, featuring Richie Podler's great production chops. I feel it was the style most true to the demo, partly because I played electric piano and contributed that "sucky" effected drum part on Kay's session. BTW, to be honest, when I digitized the original analog mix to send you, it sounded somewhat dull by today's standards, so I threw a bit of eq and compression on it.
Don't tell!

And then this ...
A question for Alan O'Day: The Book Of Rock Lists mentions Undercover Angel as one of the best songs about masturbation. Is that really what the song is about?Jack
I sent your inquiry on to Alan for an answer, wondering if you were right on the money with this assessment ... or perhaps just a beat off ... and here's what he had to say:
I got a large industrial strength laugh out of your question at the end of your email!
Here's my official response: Return with us now, to those thrilling days of double meaning songs!
I don't want to piss Jackoff ... haha ... but this question has been asked of me often through the years. The Book of Rock Lists may have gotten their Rocks off with that editorial opinion ... however, they were wrong.

I still am not comfortable being specific, as I wrote Undercover Angel to be a romantic fantasy song and I was thrilled that so many pre-teens and kids felt the innocent childlike vibe of the record (while their parents looked askance ...).
But if one is determined to find a sexual connotation, it might help to know I have referred to this song as a "nocturnal novelette".
'Nuff said, except thanks to Jack for the question.
Thanks, Alan. Suffice to say (especially in THIS context) that you really whacked it out of the park with "Undercover Angel" ... it topped the charts back in 1977!!! And it's a true gem. Tell me ... speaking as an accomplished songwriter this one of those that just kinda came to you all at once in one big spurt ... or, creatively speaking, did you have to massage it for a while in order to properly

polish this pearl? (All-right, all-right, enough already!!! Before we get dismissed as just another FINE example of jerk-off journalism, we're going to go watch our favorite episode of "Seinfeld" now!!!) kk
Forgotten Hits ... let's face it ... you're not gonna find THIS kind of questioning ANYWHERE else on the web!!!

By the way, Alan's latest CD, "I Hear Voices", is a WHOLE lotta fun to listen to. One of my favorite tracks from the album happens to be the title track. You can pick up a copy of the new album from Alan's website: Click here: Alan O'Day, Songwriter