Alessi interview, september 2006
By Georg Forchhammer.
First of all, congratulations on your new album, and thank you for joining us here at Bluedesert.
Already from the beginning of your career, you introduced a special and unique vocal sound that has been your trademark ever since. To me, it sounds like you are inspired by different musical styles like swing and pop – and maybe the sound of The Beach Boys. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
From 1976 to 1982, you recorded 5 albums with a lot of great songs. Most known is probably “Oh, Lori” from your self titled debut album. The great album “Long Time Friends” (1982), produced by Christopher Cross, was to be the last one for many years. Why did you stop recording albums at that time?
We we’re feeling like we wanted to stay in one place for a while, A life on the road can be very lonely. We we’re doing an over-dub with Jeff Baxster from the Doobie Brothers and he told us they we’re breaking up and he found a way to make money and sleep in your own bed every night and even have a car that’s not rented. Which brings us to our career in writing for television and radio commercials. We’ve written many very successful campains for companies like Diet Coke , Sears, LifeSavers, and countless others, We wrote and recorded a track of a song that was in the first GhostBusters movie called “Savin The Day. We each got married and each have 2 children and we enjoyed living basically a nice family life.
We’ve always been involved in our music but more of a work for hire. The fans have always been true to us and as the kids started to not need us so much we began to think about putting another album just for the fans and sell them, on our web site. One thing led to the other and we we’re signed to Pink Records and we are back. I hope this answers your next two questions as well.
During the 80’ies and the 90’ies where you made a lot of different jingles, did you ever consider recording albums as Alessi Brothers again, or were you both satisfied with your careers?
It was not so much that we didn’t want to record another LP but the fact that we quickly rose to the top of the trade and we were making the kind of money people dream about making. We were very much in demand and that took all of our time. Sometimes we would work around the clock just to meet the demands.
Loyal Alessi fans had to wait 21 years since 1982 to have a new album from you. What got you back on the “Alessi track” again?
We were always doing music and we were always writing songs so we had enough material to easily release another LP. Our fans were always requesting new Alessi music and we finally made Hello Everyone for those diehard fans.
Listening to your comeback album, “Hello Everyone”, I have noticed a few things I’d like you to comment on: Are all the songs on the album new ones? (e.g. track no. 9, “Under Blue Skies”, sounds as if it could have been written in the late 80’ies – and for that matter have been recorded at that time)
Some of the songs were songs written though the previous years but Blue Skies happens to be one of our newer songs and we recorded for the CD. I guess we felt that old was new again.
The song “Love’s Insane” shows a new, melancholic side of you. It reminds me a bit of the way Art Garfunkel sounds, when he is in the melancholic mood.
We’ve always loved Art Garfunkel and we had the pleasure of singing background vocals on his “Fate for Breakfast” album.
The 2 last songs on the album, “99 Reasons” and “It’s Your Birthday” also have the sound of the mid/late 80’ies – the last one with the characteristic “fat” synthesizer sound of that time.
You are right about “99 Reasons” It was a song that we always liked and we decided to re record it for “Hello” and bobby tried different synth sounds but we always came back to that 80’s thing. “It’s your Birthday” was a pretty song that I wrote for my wife and Bobby and I decided to do it up and make it into a real song. Once again we gravitated to the sounds that made it work for us. All the music was recorded for that CD even if they were written years before.
Now you’re back with your latest album, “Just Like That”, and as I hear it, you have had some new inspirational sources. Track no. 2, “Oh”, has a British kind of sound with a lot of guitars, which is a new thing in the “Alessi sound”. The songs “Anybody” and “Louieville” have – to me, at least – got this Paul McCartney thing about them.
I’d like to look a bit on the live performing part of your career. I’m sure you played a lot of gigs back in the 70’ies and 80’ies. Did you make any concerts during the 21 years you didn’t record albums?
Yes, we did perform here and there only by request. We did a few concerts for the Advertising Industry and we occasionally we do some television in Europe. “Remember these guys” and that sort of thing, but that was about it. We were constantly writing and singing songs for whatever project was happening. Some times we’d work around the clock.
You seem to have built up quite a live career in The Netherlands in the recent years. A lot of other west coast artists, like e.g. Larry John McNally and Jeff Larson, have also had a lot of success in The Netherlands. What is it about The Netherlands and American artist like you?
The Netherlands has a passion for music and they are beautiful people. I would say that the Netherlands is a music country. They pay attention to the artist and embrace it.
How is the Dutch audience compared with the ones you are used to back in the States?
They are very similar in many ways. I think that the Alessi Brothers attract a certain kind of audience that just seem to all have something in common. They are all very nice, caring people. We had one couple show us a ticket to a show we did, where they met 15 years ago and were happily married.
We’ve heard countless stories about naming their children after names in our songs, even their pets. All very sweet people. Those are the same kind of people that come in the US and Netherlands.
What are your plans for the future, both regarding records and live performing?
We will always be creating something because that’s all we know. We hope to have continued success with our goals and just enjoy the ride. We’re recording an album with our band Barnaby Bye and doing shows in the New York area.We also have a tour planned in Holland beginning April 1st 2007.
We’re doing a theater tour with Erwin van Ligten and Julya Lo’ko. It’s called the Oceans of music tour.